Philippine President Marcos vetoes economic zone bill championed by his sister

Marcos, 64, who took office on June 30 after winning the May election by a landslide, inherited more than $200 billion in public debt due to his predecessor’s pandemic response and the impact on the economy.

“Fiscal prudence must be exercised especially when resources are scarce and needs are abundant,” Marcos said in a letter to Congress Friday.

Creating a new special economic zone, which offers long and extensive tax benefits to investors, would pose “substantial financial risks for the country,” Marcos said.

In May, the upper house of congress passed a bill creating a special economic zone in Bulacan province. It was authored by Senator Imee Marcos, one of the president’s many political allies in Congress.

Senator Marcos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The special economic zone would have included a $15 billion international airport project by conglomerate San Miguel Corp. The international airport will be designed to handle 100 million passengers a year, compared to the 31 million capacity of the existing main gateway in Manila.

Marcos, the son of the Filipino leader toppled in a popular uprising 36 years ago, was sworn in as the country’s president on Thursday, vowing to fight for unity and a better future while praising the legacy of his late father.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Mike Harrison)

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