Sen. Alan joins support for BEZA bill, will explain reservations

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano joined the chamber on Monday in showing support to the creation of the Bulacan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Act (BEZA), a measure that seeks to establish a special ecozone to host the new airport being built in Bulacan, albeit with reservations.

This after the Senate passed on third reading Senate Bill No. 2572 or the BEZA Bill on March 18, 2024 with 22 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and zero abstentions.

Cayetano voted yes to the measure but said he will submit an explanation of his reservation. 

Last week, he took to the floor to ask a number of clarificatory questions to Senator Grace Poe, sponsor of the Bulacan Ecozone bill. 

Top of his inquiry was on the importance of having comprehensive studies and cost-benefit analyses provided by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“I want Bulacan to develop… Ang simpleng tanong ko lang, kung walang study na scientific, [ibig sabihin] nanghuhula lang tayo. Ang problema ng Pilipinas, marami tayong shortcuts,” the independent senator said during the plenary session on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Cayetano said the measure cannot assert that the Bulacan Ecozone will benefit the country without a proper study. 

“I’m really curious and excited for Bulacan to have a super economic zone. On the other hand, it’s the first time na y’ung buong province will be part of an economic zone so I’m a little bit concerned about the feasibility and how it will work,” he explained.

Other topics that Cayetano also touched on concerned the boundary limitations of the ecozone, a balanced composition of the BEZA board, land conversions being conducted through law, and the importance of BEZA being gambling-free.

The discussion took almost three hours. Senator Francis Escudero, who joined the back and forth with Senators Poe and Cayetano, conveyed his appreciation to Cayetano at the end of their discussion.

“My sincere thanks and appreciation to the gentleman from Taguig and Pateros for his genuine concern in protecting the Filipino people and our country in preventing abuse and learning from the experiences of the past. I thank him as well because I learned a lot,” Escudero said in his closing statement on the bill last March 13, 2024.

On Monday, March 18, after the measure’s passage on the floor, Senator Grace Poe and Majority Leader Senator Joel Villanueva thanked Cayetano for his invaluable contribution in refining the measure. 

“I would like to convey my gratitude to Senators Escudero, Gatchalian, and Cayetano. Special mention to Senator Cayetano for refining the bill in making sure that we read the bill not just once, twice, or three times, and adhered to many constitutional provisions,” Poe said as bill sponsor on Monday afternoon.

Villanueva, who hails from Bulacan, also thanked Cayetano for “making this bill even more responsive to the needs of our constituents.”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *