The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) welcomes the filing of Senate Bill No. 2647, a measure seen to give workers access to affordable housing, accelerate infrastructure development, further drive investments in the country, and support the pension fund of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).


Seeking to amend Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion Act of 1992, the bill was filed on April 30, Tuesday, by Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, together with the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, chaired by Senator Jose “Jinggoy” P. Estrada and vice-chaired by Senator Francis N. Tolentino.


“With our properties, such as Clark, John Hay, Poro Point, and Morong Discovery Park on the cusp of economic transformation, we urgently need to overcome legislative challenges that may hinder the optimum potential of these economic zones. More importantly, we seek to empower the workforce that drives the success of these business hubs by allocating a portion of our land for residential purposes. We are extremely grateful to Senator Cayetano, Senator Estrada, and Senator Tolentino for filing Senate Bill 2647, which will help us achieve these goals,” said BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Joshua M. Bingcang.


In a statement, Senator Cayetano said his proposed amendments are “crucial to maintaining investor confidence and facilitating the implementation of long-term infrastructure projects within BCDA economic zones.”


Under Senate Bill No. 2647, a certain percentage of the land area of each BCDA economic zone shall be declared as alienable and disposable, authorizing its sale for residential use, mixed use, industrial, and institutional purposes. 


If passed, this measure is seen to mobilize residential and affordable housing development in BCDA ecozones, which is currently prevented by the leasehold status of the properties. This would benefit workers who usually need to live and commute outside the BCDA ecozones, providing them convenience and affording them the opportunity to own a property that they can pass down to their children or family members.


A portion of the net proceeds from the sale of the land shall be earmarked and remitted to beef up the pension fund of the AFP, according to the Senate bill. A chunk of the generated funds would also be allocated for the infrastructure projects of the BCDA and its subsidiaries.


Meanwhile, the bill also seeks to extend the BCDA’s corporate term by another 50 years from its current remaining corporate life of 18 years.


This ensures the continuity of BCDA’s function as a key contributor to nation building, enabling the organization to pursue more game-changing projects, continuously improve the infrastructure in its economic zones, and generate more job opportunities for Filipinos. It would likewise boost investor confidence in the BCDA’s properties, providing assurance to businesses and locators planning to invest or expand their operations. 


On August 22 last year, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading its own version of the measure as contained in House Bill 8505, authored by Representatives Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aurelio Gonzales, Faustino A. Dy V, Ricardo S. Cruz Jr.,  Ramon Jolo B. Revilla III, Maria Angela S. Garcia, Jefferson F. Khonghun, Mark O. Go, Noel N. Rivera, Juan Carlos C. Atayde, Francisco Paolo P. Ortega V, Christopher V.P. de Venecia, Emigdio P. Tanjuatco III, Reynolds Michael T. Tan, Wilbert T. Lee, Christian Tell A. Yap, Julienne Baronda, and Manuel Jose M. Dalipe.


The proposed amendments to the BCDA charter also met tremendous support from the BCDA’s partners, including Ayala Corp., Megaworld Corp., Filinvest Land Inc., Hann Development Corp., Equinetsupport Inc., Clark Investors and Locators Association, Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., Maharlika Investment Corp., Department of Science and Technology, and the University of the Philippines, and the city government of Angeles, Pampanga.