Bill creating Central Luzon investment authority hurdles committees

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New Clark City BCDA

A BILL creating a Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub (RICH) in central Luzon was approved by three House committees.

House Bill 8637, which proposed to create RICH as a government corporation in place of the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC), was approved by the House Committees on Government Enterprises and Privatization, Appropriations and Ways and Means.

The proposed measure intends to turn the region into a “single investment destination so as to expand and replicate the rapid economic growth in the areas hosting special economic or freeport zones,” as stated in the Committee Report.

If enacted, the measure calls for RICH shall have an authorized capital stock of P2 billion, divided into 20,000 no-par shares fully subscribed and paid for by the national government.

Funds will be sourced from “assets which the President of the Philippines may transfer to the RICH as part of the equity contribution of the government,” and through national budget appropriations.

It proposed to create a 13-member board tasked to develop a Central Luzon Investment Corridor Master Plan, which shall include among others low-cost housing within the special economic or freeport zones.

The board, in coordination with investment promotion agencies, will also establish a one-stop shop for the registration, operation and maintenance of enterprises in the region.

Its counterpart measure, Senate Bill No. 1997 was approved on third reading on Oct. 1. — Charmaine A. Tadalan