Senator Panfilo Lacson has cautioned his colleagues in the Senate to look closely into the possible Constitutional issues that may be raised should the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill and the San Miguel Aerocity Inc. franchise for the Bulacan airport are approved.
Lacson said senators should consider the possible repercussions should the bill that seeks the construction of a major airport facility in Bulacan is passed into law ahead of the CREATE bill.
The Senate hastily approved the measure, which would give SMC Aerocity tax privileges amounting to an estimated P118-billion within 50 years, on second reading last Monday, Oct. 5 even after Sen. Pia Cayetano appealed to her colleagues to prioritize deliberations on the CREATE bill which the Palace has certified as urgent.
Lacson pointed out that the tax incentive provision under the CREATE bill that was submitted to the Senate earlier is contrary to the numerous tax incentives to be given the Ramon Ang-owned firm under the franchise measure.
“What I am worried is once the airport franchise bill is passed into law ahead of CREATE bill, we might be facing a constitutional issue,” Lacson stressed during the deliberations on CREATE bill.
Under the 50-year franchise bill, the company would enjoy P38-billion worth of tax perks for the construction of the airport within the first 10 years, then will be granted tax privileges of P2-billion annually for the remaining 40 years.
The CREATE bill, on the other hand, seeks to remove some fiscal incentives in exchange for a lower corporate income tax for private businesses and making it time-bound and performance-based.
“What happens if the San Miguel Aerocity franchise is enacted ahead of the CREATE measure? Will the provision of CREATE be applied to the measure under consideration, the franchise bill?” Lacson pointed out.
Lacson proposed that the CREATE bill be passed ahead of the franchise bill on SM Aerocity to avoid any constitutional issues that may arise later on.
The franchise bill is up for third and final reading on Monday, while the CREATE bill, is still in the period of interpellations.
Cayetano, who chairs the Senate committee on ways and means, had said Lacson’s concern was one of the main reasons why she had wanted to be given the time to study the Aerocity franchise bill further and why she wanted deliberations on the CREATE bill to be prioritized by the Senate.