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No Albee clash, Bong confirms

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:29

Thursday, October 5, 2017
By Gilber Bayoran

Whatever his decision, there will be no clash.

This was also the response yesterday of Negros Occidental Vice-Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to the statement of Rep. Alfredo Benitez, who is being pushed by the mayors of the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, to run for governor in the 2019 elections.

Lacson, who already signified his intention to run for governor of Negros Occidental in the next local election, reiterated that he will remain with the Nationalist People's Coalition, despite the invitation for them to join the PDP-Laban of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Benitez was quoted as saying earlier that he will not run against Lacson in the gubernatorial race. But Lacson said he was not aware of that, although he had talks with Rep. Benitez before.

Lacson said this information has not been relayed to him. but added “I hope the fake news does not come from the media”.

Benitez, who is now on his last term as congressman of the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, was already reported to have been included in the PDP-LABAN senatorial line up in the 2019 elections. But the solon said he has yet to decide on it.

About 11,500 political leaders in Negros Occidental, including those in Bacolod City, are expected to simultaneously take their oaths as PDP-Laban members in the cities of Victorias and Bacolod today.

Last year, more than 200 political leaders in Negros Occidental led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. also took their oaths as PDP-Laban members.

Earlier Marañon had said that he will support whatever decision Benitez makes.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi are expected at the oathtaking rites.

“Tomorrow (today) is a very big day for PDP-Laban. I am sure they will have the numbers in attendance both in Victorias and Bacolod cities. So I wish them well”, Lacson said.

PDP-Laban has an alliance with the NPC.* GPB

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

11,500 joining PDP-Laban to boost federalism push

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 19:31

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
By Carla Gomez

About 11,500 political leaders in Negros Occidental will simultaneously take their oaths as members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakasng Bayan in Victorias and Bacolod cities tomorrow morning, Yves Akol, PDP Laban Negros Island secretary general, said yesterday.

The mass oathtaking is part of the push towards a federal form of government, he said.

PDP Laban national officials at the oathtaking will be led by party secretary general, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and treasurer, Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Clint Aranas, Akol said.

Chairman of the party is President Rodrigo Duterte, while its president is Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.

Akol said 9,000 will take their oaths at rites at the Victorias Coliseum in Victorias City organized by Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District).

In Bacolod City 2,500 will take their oaths at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos organized by Mayor EvelioLeonardia, Akoladded.

Those who will take their oaths do not include barangay captains, he also said.

He said no additional Negros Occidental mayors will be taking their oaths tomorrow, since the PDP-Laban already has an alliance with the Nationalist People's Coalition.

Among the Negros Occidental officials who have opted to remain with the NPC, headed by Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco are Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Rep. Melecio Yap (1st District), Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (6th District), Rep. Greg Gasataya (Bacolod), and about 10 mayors.

The main objective of the PDP Laban expansion is to gather forces to push the campaign for federalism awareness, Akol said.

The objective is for the move towards federalism to be acted on by Congress next year, and for it to be in place before the president's term ends, he added.

He said they are also hoping for theretention of the Negros Island as part of one federal state with the shift towards federalism.*CPG

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Panukalang Batas ni Cong. Albee Benitez Pasado na sa Appro

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 19:48

October 3, 2017


Panukalang batas na magtatatag ng Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, na itinataguyod ni Cong. Albee Benitez bilang tagapangulo ng Committee on Housing and Urban Development, pasado na sa Committee on Appropriations.

Itataguyod ng Department on Human Settlements ang mas komprehensibong programa ng pabahay para sa mga maralitang tagalungsod. Pangagasiwaan nito ang paglinang sa mga lupa ng gobyerno para sa makamasang pabahay at titiyakin ang maayos na urbanisasyon.

CCTVs for public places, establishments urged by solon

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 07:27

Updated October 2, 2017, 12:19 PM
By Charissa Luci-Atienza

A House leader proposes to require business establishments to install closed circuit television (CCTV) or video surveillance system to deter crimes and to protect lives and properties.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez filed House Bill (H.B.) 6381 calling for the installation of the CCTV cameras or video surveillance system in business establishments, public offices and facilities, public and private schools, parks, public markets, and major roads and intersections.

“The ever- changing methods of criminals in perpetrating crimes and avoiding capture requires and complex us to likewise change and adjust our efforts by making use of all resources and technological innovations available at our disposal,” he said.

He said that emergence of CCTV is seen as one of those technological developments that will deter crimes and solve unresolved and pending offenses.

“The puzzle on the death of Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was allegedly killed without basis during an anti-drug operations shows how CCTV cameras can help determine the truth and identify the perpetrators and bring them to the Courts of Law and face the consequences of their actions,” Benitez said.

H.B. 6381 mandates business establishments and public areas to turn on their CCTV/ surveillance cameras for recording for 24 hours every day.

The video recording shall be kept on safe keeping for 90 days from the date of recording and may be disposed of after the lapse of the period.

For business establishments, the installation of the CCTV cameras/video surveillance shall be a mandatory requirement prior to the issuance of business permits.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Benitez: No clash with Lacson in 2019

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 18:17

Monday, October 02, 2017
Marchel P. Espina

LOOKS like there won’t be a clash between Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez in the gubernational post in the 2019 elections.

The lawmaker said Sunday that “we will not run against each other.”

Benitez, who is on his third and final term, was included in the senatorial slate of the administration party in the next elections.

However, he said that he has yet to make a decision about his political plans.

“No decision yet,” he added.

Both Benitez and Lacson have been tight-lipped on the talks about their possible clash in the top provincial post in 2019.

Both are leaders of Love Negros, rival political party of United Negros Alliance (Unega) headed by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who is on his third and final term.

Benitez had earlier said he could run for governor, senator, or rest from politics in the next elections while Marañon had been urging the lawmaker to run for senator in the next elections.

Lacson, on the other hand, has yet to reveal his political plans.

He had earlier said that running for governor in 2019 is an option considering that Marañon is now on his last term.

Unega and Love Negros used to be allies before their break up in 2013, when Marañon decided to seek a second term against Nationalist People’s Coalition bet former vice governor Genaro Alvarez, who was supported by Benitez.

Benitez and Alvarez then formed Love Negros as the opposition party.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

Decongesting Metro Manila

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 16:50

By Jovee Marie de la Cruz - October 1, 2017

Offices of national government agencies may soon inch their way out of Metro Manila to outlying regions, as a proposal for their relocation gains traction in the House of Representatives.

House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Chairman Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental said his panel has recently approved a substitute bill moving national government administrative offices from the National Capital Region (NCR) to the provinces.

Benitez said the proposal seeks to decongest Metro Manila and ensure the functions of government during calamities, while allowing a better government transaction system.

“Overpopulation, traffic congestion and high vulnerability to natural disasters have made Metro Manila, or the NCR, a pariah among world cities,” Benitez said.

The measure, he added, will now be submitted to the mother committee for final approval. After the approval on the panel level, the bill will be transmitted to the plenary for deliberations.

The lawmaker said there is a need to rethink and develop a master plan that will decongest Metro Manila.

Progress after relocation 

According to Benitez, several countries where government agencies were relocated outside the main city have flourished, such as South Korea, Malaysia and Brazil.

“Relocation of capitals had already been done by several countries. Malaysia, for instance, built a new administrative capital to ease congestion in Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya is envisioned to be a ‘green’ and ‘intelligent’ city,’ with wide parks and open spaces, and strong ICT [information communication technology] infrastructure. Its aesthetic design also shows distinct Islamic character to reflect Malaysian identity and heritage as a predominantly Muslim country,” he said.

Alternative plan 

National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia, in a position paper, suggested that a “well-coordinated master plan on how to decongest NCR and support the development of regional and subregional centers [must] be prepared instead.”

“This can be done through existing institutions, particularly the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, which is mandated by law to formulate and coordinate implementation of medium- and long-term plans and programs for the land use and physical development within NCR,” Pernia said.

While recognizing the intention of the proposal, Pernia said under the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP), the NCR is envisioned to remain as the seat of the national government.

“The strategy for decongesting NCR is to direct growth to regional and subregional centers, which have the economies of scale and agglomeration needed to become attractive investment hosts and alternatives to NCR,” he said.

“The PDP also provides the basis for identifying strategic infrastructure projects that will ensure connectivity among urban centers and rural production areas. It encourages local government units to incorporate disaster-risk reduction in their comprehensive land-use plans, given that it is at the local level where hazards could be defined in detail, including the specific interventions to reduce vulnerability to disasters,” Pernia added.

Under the bill, the Administrative Capital City Planning Commission shall be created to lead the development of a comprehensive plan to relocate the government agencies and establish an administrative capital city outside Metro Manila.

Also, the Administrative Capital City Planning Commission shall conduct a feasibility study of relocating most of the administrative offices of government agencies outside of Metro Manila. The commission will be placed under the Office of the President.

“The authority shall call upon any department, bureau, office, agency, or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, government financial institutions, local government units, and request non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other entities for assistance as the circumstances and exigencies may require in carrying out his mandate,” the bill said.

It added the commission shall also submit to the President the mechanisms and oversee the initial phase of the transfer of the government agencies.

The measure said the commission shall identify the most suitable site for the administrative city and provide a master plan for the development of the site.

The bill also allows the commission to engage the assistance of local and foreign consultants and experts in the development of the master plan.

According to the measure, the master plan for the establishment of an administrative city shall guide and accomplish a coordinated, adjusted, harmonious development of the capital of the Philippines, which will, in accordance with the present and future needs, best promote health, safety, morals, order, convenience and prosperity.

The measure said that the amount necessary to implement this proposal shall be included in the budget of the Office of the President in the annual General Appropriations Act.


Another major concern, Benitez said, is the increasing number of squatters, informal settler families (ISFs), in Metro Manila, eating up valuable urban space.

Benitez stressed that medium-rise buildings could be constructed in the areas that will be vacated by these government agencies.

The lawmaker said the off-city government programs for the ISFs failed because many of the relocatees have returned to the NCR, as their relocation sites are far from their source of income.

“Out of the 1.5 million ISFs in the country, nearly 600,000 are found in NCR,” he said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said Metro Manila is home to 11.9 million people in 2010, making it one of the world’s most densely populated areas.

Meanwhile, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Assistant Secretary Avelino Tolentino III suggested that to make housing projects more affordable, government lands should be converted into housing sites.

Avelino said this could be cheaper in the long run for the government, which will still own the lands, as relocation sites entail spending money to relocate to far-flung areas the ISFs, who, however, end up returning to the NCR due to the unavailability of basic services in the new housing sites.

By allowing the free use of government lands, Avelino said, tenants will only pay a small amount for the investment the government will spend in constructing the building and for its maintenance.

Clark City

During the technical working group phase, AlloyMTD Philippines President engineer Isaac S. David presented before lawmakers their plan to build Clark Green City as the new administrative center for the national government.

Like other cities, David said the $2.5-billion project is large enough to accommodate business, government, education, housing and lifestyle amenities.

He said the Clark Green City will be well-connected through public transport like rail and expressway.

The Clark Green City is patterned after Putrajaya. Putrajaya is the administrative capital of Malaysia, where there are executive, legislative and judicial offices.

Benitez admitted that it would take a longer time to implement this project, but “what’s important here is, we are now starting the process.”

“One of our dilemmas is most of our programs are [only] at short term because we were only looking at a six-year time frame for any administration. [With this], we cannot plan more than six years, but in this case, this requires more planning and implementation period,” he added.

The Clark Green City is envisioned as a disaster-resilient metropolis that could face the strongest typhoons and earthquakes.

“[We have to be resilient since] during Supertyphoon Yolanda, there was a time when there was no government. [This] will assure that we will not be immobilized during calamities because [of the absence of the government],” he said.

Benitez said Metro Manila also sits above a fault line that could trigger massive and destructive earthquakes.

The Clark Green City project is now being evaluated by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.


Source: Business Mirror