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House panel approves BIDA bill tax provision

THE House committee on ways and means has approved the tax provision of a consolidated measure seeking to create the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA).

The panel chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda approved the substitute bill to House Bill Nos. 6214, 6285, 7249, 7280, 7294, 7313, and 7360.

Salceda’s tax panel has given its approval to the measure, which will coordinate private and public sector investment into what will become the Boracay Islands Special Economic and Tourism Zone.

He said the committee has given its quick approval in support of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s bid to fully rehabilitate the island.

“We need coordinated investment in Boracay. Conservation approaches have to be carefully managed. That is why we have development authorities for world heritage sites. Boracay should be no different, considering its vital importance as the centerpiece of our sustainable tourism strategies,” Salceda said.

In the past, Salceda said, misdirected and uncoordinated investments in Boracay have led to massive overdevelopment without regard for the island’s water and waste management facilities.

“With this authority in charge, we can more carefully plan investments in Boracay. Wala nang bara-bara, tapos wala palang water treatment facility,” Salceda added.

The ecozone’s metes and bounds shall include the entirety of the island of Boracay, including Barangay Caticlan, Municipality of Malay, and the area occupied by the airport which extends to the Municipality of Nabas, Province of Aklan, the House leader said.

This area may be extended by the President of the Philippines by an Executive Order subject to the mandate and limitations of the Constitution and pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991.

Salceda’s tax panel approved provisions that will grant the authority the same privileges as other ecozones.

He also thanked the proponents led by Davao City Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Z. Duterte for accepting his key amendments to the proposal.

The Salceda amendments include requiring the written concurrence of the Secretary of Finance for increasing the value of the shares representing the capital stock of the authority, auditing authority’s performance for social and environmental impact, and granting the authority the power to impose environmentally related conditions on investments and enterprises within its jurisdiction in addition to conditions already required by law.