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‘Majority in Visayan bloc for extending martial law'

Cong. Albee News Feed - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:35



Wednedday, December 13, 2017
BY CARLA GOMEZ

The members of the Visayan bloc are expected to join the majority in the Lower Housetoday in voting in favor of President Rodrigo Duterte's request for a full-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District), when asked yesterday how he and the majority of the Visayan bloc will vote on the extension of mayor law, said “in favor”.

Almost all of the representatives from Mindanao support the extension of martial law for one year and we have to support their position, Rep. Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod partylist) of Negros Occidental also said.

“We in the Visayas don't have the moral authority to question the will of the Mindanaoans,” he said.

The Visayan representatives, who include those from Negros Occidental, will most probably support the extension of martial law in Mindanao, Paduanosaid.

Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva (Neg. Occ., 2nd District) also said he will vote for the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

“The government, through the military, need more time to reduce the threat of the ISIS group to make a comeback, “ he said.

“This will also enable the development of Marawi to be fast tracked,” he said.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñasyesterday also said members of the House of Representatives are "overwhelmingly in favor" of a full-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are set to convene in a joint session today to decide on whether or not to approve Duterte's request for a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.

In his letter dated December 8, President Duterte asked Congress to further extend the declaration of martial law in the whole of Mindanao for the entirety of 2018 to totally eradicate terror threats posed by remnants of Islamic State -linked terrorists and by communist rebels in the region.

He said extending martial law for another year would help state security forces to crush the rebellion in Mindanao and ensure public safety.*CPG/PNA

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Love Negros

Cong. Albee News Feed - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:33



Wednedday, December 13, 2017



LOVE NEGROS. Sipalay Mayor Oscar Montilla, Silay Mayor Mark Golez, Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (Neg. Occ., 6th District) and Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (l-r) were among the Love Negros members at the Bacolod Pavillon Monday night for their Christmas party, where they said political plans for 2019 were not tackled.*

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

House probe on sugar price drop: ARBs laud Cong. Albee

Cong. Albee News Feed - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 09:10



Tue, 12/12/2017

The Negros Farm Workers & Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producer Federation (NEFARB) commends 3rd District Rep. Albee Benitez for filing House Resolution No. 2017, acting promptly on the call to investigate the continuous drop of prices of sugar.

“If the result of the House Investigation will prosper into a positive resolution to the sugar industry problem, this will be a whopping relief for the more than 60,000 small sugarcane farmers who have been suffering from the devastating effect of low sugar prices for months since milling season started in this Crop Year 2017-18,” said NEFARB chair Cornelio Sandrico.

“But still, we must prepare for the worst because of uncontrolled market forces that dictate the prices of commodities under the free trade regime of liberalized economy entered into by the Philippine government,” he added.

The group called on all the stakeholders to be vigilant on the last stretch of the milling season. If the price of sugar is not rewarding for the small farmers, they will be compelled to discontinue sugarcane farming and demand for a government bailout to allow them to diversify, they stated.

They called on all Negros representatives to support their proposed bailout plan which is similar to Republic Act 7202, or the Sugar Restitution Law.

“If the sugar industry does not recover from the price slump, it will negate all government efforts to achieve social justice for small farmers thru the agrarian reform program. If low sugar prices prevents small sugarcane farmers to produce enough to feed their families, then our struggle for the land, and the blood and lives we lost in that struggle, will all be for nothing,” Cornelio pointed out.*

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

ARBs group commends lawmaker

Cong. Albee News Feed - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 07:45




Monday, December 11, 2017

THE Negros Farm Workers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producers Federation (Nefarb) commended Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez for filing House Resolution No. 2017, acting promptly on their call to investigate the continuous drop of sugar prices.

Benitez filed on December 6, House Resolution No. 1512 after he received reports of alleged manipulation by some traders that have pulled down the prices of sugar.

The group in a press release on Sunday said: “If the result of the House investigation will prosper into a positive resolution to the sugar industry problem, this will be a whopping relief for the 60,000 small and medium sugarcane planters that suffer a devastating effect of low sugar prices for months since milling season started this crop year 2017-2018.”

“(S)till, we must prepare for the worst because of the uncontrolled market forces that dictate the prices of commodities under the free trade regime of liberalized economy entered into by the Philippine government,” Nefarb added.

The group also called on all stakeholders to be vigilant on the last stretch of the milling season.

“If the price of sugar is not rewarding for us small and medium planters, we will be compelled to discontinue sugarcane farming. And we will demand for a government bailout to diversify,” Nefarb said.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

Group praises congressman for investigation into alleged sugar price manipulation

Cong. Albee News Feed - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 19:54
Cornelio: If farmers are forced out, a government bailout will be demanded



December 11, 2017
By Paulo Loreto Lim

The Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producers Federation (NeFARB) praised Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez after he filed a resolution last week calling for an investigation into the ongoing decline in “mill gate” sugar prices.

In a statement by the organization, NeFARB Chair Sandrico Cornelio speculated, if the investigation reveals misdeeds in the pricing of sugar, it would be a benefit to local laborers.
“This [would] be a whopping relief for the 60,000 small and medium sugarcane planters,” he asserted.

Cornelio added, if prices continue in the same downward decline, planters will be forced out of the industry.

“We will demand for a government bailout,” he added.

Through the resolution, the congressman cited 2017-2018 crop year data claiming “mill gate prices continued to decline, starting September 2017, dropping by 26 percent to P1,190 per 50-kilogram bag as of November 5.”

“Mill gate” price, sometimes referred to as a “factory gate” price, refers to the actual cost of a product, comprised of elements including labor and energy costs, but free of any markup./PLL, WDJ

Source: Watchmen Daily Journal

Benitez lauded for seeking probe on drop of sugar price

Cong. Albee News Feed - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 19:44



Monday, December 11, 2017

The Negros Farm Workers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producer Federation has commended Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) for filing a House resolution, and acting promptly on its call to investigate the continuous drop in the prices of sugar, its press release said.

The resolution calls on the appropriate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, of the continuous drop in the mill gate prices of domestic sugar.

NEFARB said if the House investigation will prosper into a positive resolution to the sugar industry problem, “this will be a whopping relief for the 60,000 small and medium sugarcane planters that are enduring a devastating effect of the low sugar prices since the start of the milling season for crop year 2017-18”.

“Still, we must prepare for the worst because of uncontrolled market forces that dictate the prices of commodities under the free trade regime of liberalized economy entered into by the Philippine government”, the press release said.

“We call on all the stakeholders to be vigilant on this last stretch of the milling season. If the price of sugar is not rewarding for us small and medium planters, we will be compelled to discontinue sugarcane farming. And we will demand for a government bailout to diversify,” it added.

The group also called on all Negros solons to support its bailout proposal that is similar to Republic Act 7202, or the Sugar Restitution Law, the press release added.*

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Lawmaker seeks House probe on declining sugar prices

Cong. Albee News Feed - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 20:29




Thursday, December 07, 2017

NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez has asked an appropriate House committee to conduct an inquiry on the continuous drop in the mill gate sugar prices.

Benitez filed on WednesdayHouse Resolution No. 1512 after he said last week that he received reports of alleged manipulation by some traders that have pulled down the prices of sugar.

“Sugar industry stakeholders have warned the government of an impending crisis in the sugar industry, stating that the continuing decline will have adverse impact on sugar workers as sugar planters may have to cut down on labor to reduce their cost of production,” the lawmaker said.

Bemitez pointed out that latest data for crop year 2017 to 2018 showed that mill gate sugar prices continued to decline from September, dropping by 26 percent to P1,190 per 50-kilogram bag as of November 5, from P1,618 in the same period last year.

He added that the Sugar Regulatory Administration has also noted that the wholesale prices of sugar declined by 21 percent to P1,500 per 50-kilogram bag for raw sugar; by 18 percent to P1,700 for washed sugar; and by 15 percent to P2,000 for refined sugar.

Benitez also cited the protest of the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Producer’s Federation, stating that small farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries will never survive the current price level of P1,190 per 50-kilogram bag.

“The stakeholders are calling for an investigation to identify the reasons why the mill gate prices continue to drop while the retail price of sugar remains the same,” he added.

In the resolution, Benitez mentioned that “the industry alleges that price manipulation by a possible cartel, smuggling, and the unceasing importation of high fructose corn syrup potential are causing the drastic decrease in sugar prices.”

“It is the duty of the State to promote the improvement of local industries, enhance agricultural competitiveness and uphold the welfare of local agricultural workers,” he added. (NLG)

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

Cong. Albee Benitez at Marawi Today

Tatak Metro 3rd - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 17:23


December 7, 2017



Binisita ni Cong. Albee Benitez ngayong araw ang Ground Zero ng bakbakan ng militar at ng teroristang grupo na Maute at inispekyon ang temporary housing na itinatayo ng National Housing Authority para sa mga pamilyang apektado ng giyera.

Idiniin ni Cong. Albee sa mga opisyal ng Task Force Bangon Marawi at NHA na bilisan ngunit sinsinin ang pagpaplano para muling itayo ang Marawi at tiyaking maayos ang implementasyon ng mga proyekto, lalo na sa pabahay, basic social services at kabuhayan, parang tulungan muling makatayo ang mga biktima ng kaguluhan.

More gains at Bicam -Zubiri; Benitez files price probe bid

Cong. Albee News Feed - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 16:37



Thursday, December 7, 2017
BY CARLA P. GOMEZ

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said further gains were reached yesterdayfor the sugar industry during the bicameral conference committee's revision of the excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB).

“It is a great victory for the industry,” he said in a text message.

The bicameral committee,aside from agreeing on PHP6 per liter excise tax forSSBs using sugar, and PHP12 per liter for High Fructose Corn Syrup, also agreed that there will be no more further tax increase for several years, he said.

On Tuesday a further increase in the excise tax set to start next year was also expected in 2023.

Zubirisaid 3-in-1 coffee, which also has a sugar component, will be exempt from the excise tax, Zubiri said.

“We did it! It's PHP 6 for sugar and sugar substitutes and PHP 12 for HFCS. No more increase after how many years and 3-in-1 coffee tax is exempt,” Zubiri said in his text message.

Senator Sonny Angara also said yesterday said thatmilk was also exempt from excise tax.

The sugar industry is grateful to Zubiri and Angara for fighting for it at the bicameral meetings, sugar leader Bernard Trebol said Tuesday.

The bicameral conference committee is tasked with reconciling the Lower House and Senate versions of the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, that includes the SSB excise tax.

Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) yesterday also filed a resolution in the House, calling on the appropriate committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation, into the continuous drop in the mill gate prices of domestic sugar.

The resolution cited the continuous decline in mill gate sugar starting September 2017, dropping by 26 percent to PHP 1,190 per 50 kilogram bag as of Nov. 5 from PHP1,618 in the same period last year.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration also noted that the wholesale prices of sugar also declined by 21 percent to PHP 1,500 per Lkg for raw sugar, 18 percent to PHP 1,700 for washed sugar, and 15 percent to PHP PHP2,000 for refined sugar, Benitez said.

Benitez noted that sugar industry stakeholders have warned government of an impending crisis with the continuing decline of mill gate prices, that will have an adverse effect on sugar workers.

He also noted that the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Producers Federation members have protested that they will not survive the low mill gate prices of sugar.

The stakeholders are calling for an investigation to identify the reasons why the mill gate prices continue to drop while the retail prices of sugar remain the same, Benitez added.

The industry alleges that price manipulation by a possible cartel, smuggling and increasing importation of HFCS are causing the drastic decrease in sugar prices, he said.

He added that is the duty of the state to promote the improvement of local industries enhance agricultural competitiveness, and uphold the welfare of local agricultural workers.

Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines, said Tuesday that recent developments have caused a gradual increase in mill gate prices, that are at PHP 1,300 per Lkg now.*CPG

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Benitez Formally Submits Resolution Calling For an Investigation Into Sugar Prices

Cong. Albee News Feed - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 12:00



December 7, 2017
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez yesterday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the ongoing decline in “mill gate” sugar prices.

Through House Resolution No. 1512, the congressman cited 2017-2018 crop year data showing “mill gate prices continued to decline, starting September 2017, dropping by 26 percent to P1,190 per 50-kilogram bag as of November 5.”

He noted, a 50-kilogram bag cost P1,618 in the same period last year.

“The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has also noted that the wholesale prices of sugar also declined by 21 percent to P1,500 per 50-kilogram bag for raw sugar,” the resolution added.

It also cited drops in washed sugar and refined sugar.

Benitez quoted the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producers Federation (NeFARB), who claimed small farmers cannot survive on current prices.

“The industry alleges [there is] price manipulation by a possible cartel,” the congressman explained.

He also pointed to the suspected smuggling of high fructose corn syrup as a factor in decreasing sugar prices./DGB, WDJ

Source: Watchmen Daily Journal

Cong. Benitez files reso to probe sugar price drop

Cong. Albee News Feed - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 09:21



Thu, 12/07/2017

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez yesterday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the continuous drop in the mill gate prices of sgar in the country.

Benitez, in House Resolution No. 1512 said, the latest data for crop year 2017-2018 “showed that mill gate prices continued to decline starting September 2017 dropping by 26 percent to P1,190 per 50- kilogram bag as of November 5 from P1,618 per 50-kg bag in the same period last year.”

“The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has also noted that the wholesale prices of sugar also declined by 21 percent to P1,500 per 50- kg for raw sugar; 18 percent to P1,700 for washed sugar and 15 percent to P2,000 for refined sugar,” it said.

The resolution pointed out that “the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Producers Federation (NEFARB) have protested that small farmers and agrarian beneficiaries (ARBs) will never survive the current price level of P1,190 per lkg.”

Benitez said, the stakeholders “are calling for an investigation to identify the reasons why the mill gate prices continue to drop while the retail price of sugar remains the same.”

“The industry alleges that the price manipulation by a possible cartel, smuggling and unceasing importation of high fructose corn syrup are causing the drastic decrease in sugar prices,” he added.

The Congressman cited that “it is the duty of the State to promote the improvement of local industries, enhance agricultural competitiveness and uphold the welfare of local agricultural workers.”*(NDB)

 

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

Consultant: Prepare for possible sugar industry crisis

Cong. Albee News Feed - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 16:17




Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Teresa D. Ellera

NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. was advised by former governor and now Capitol consultant Rafael Coscolluela to prepare for a possible crisis that will affect the sugar workers.

“My apprehension is because of the low prices of sugar and the rising cost of production, it will force us to reduce the cost of production.

Sugar planters will tend to find ways to reduce their cost like fertilization, cost of cultivation, and other means and that they might be forced to use chemicals with control, meaning cut down on labor, and everytime we see cost reduction measures is adopted the first to suffer will be the farm workers,” Coscolluela said.

He added that he is preparing a memorandum for the governor.

“The sugar prices could go higher but sugar farmers should also prepare as prices may go down. I’m a bit apprehensive but I hope these measures to cut down in cost will not result in crisis for sugar workers,” he said.

On the inquiry that will be sought by Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez on the alleged price manipulation by some traders that trigger the low prices of sugar, Coscolluela said, “I tend to suspect that there is cartel. It’s possible that there is price manipulation, but the sad thing is the sugar industry has absolutely has no control in terms of marketing.”

“I hope Congressman Benitez will get useful information. I’m not really sure whether there is a solution but I think the agency that should take serious action is the Department of Trade and Industry because they set the suggested retail price selling based on the millgate prices of sugar,” he further said.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

House passes proposed "Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act"

Cong. Albee News Feed - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 12:44


05-December-2017, 10:06:20 AM
SOURCE: House of Representatives Press and Public Affairs Bureau


The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 6617 or the proposed "Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act" which seeks to strengthen the government's comprehensive policy on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) prevention, treatment, care and support, and to establish the Philippine National HIV and AIDS Plan.

The bill seeks to repeal for the purpose Republic Act No. 8504, otherwise known as the “Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998”.

The measure mandates the formulation of a six-year National Multi-Sectoral HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan or an AIDS Medium-Term Plan (AMTP) which shall be periodically updated by the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC).

It proposes to reconstitute and streamline the PNAC which was established under RA 8504 to ensure the implementation of the country’s response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

The AMTP shall include the country’s targets and strategies in addressing the epidemic; the prevention, treatment, care and support, and other components of the country’s response; the six-year operationalization of the program and identification of the government agencies that shall implement the program as well as the budgetary requirements and a corollary investment plan that identify the sources of funds for its implementation.

The measure also provides for an HIV and AIDS prevention program that shall educate the public on these and other sexually transmitted infections, with the goal of reducing risky behavior, lowering vulnerabilities and promoting the human rights of persons living with HIV.

It tasks the PNAC to promote and adopt a range of measures and interventions, in partnership with civil society organizations (CSOs) that aim to prevent, halt, or control the spread of HIV in the general population, especially among the key populations and vulnerable communities.

These measures shall likewise promote the rights, welfare, and participation of persons living with HIV and the affected children, young people, families and partners of persons living with HIV.

The HIV and AIDS education and prevention programs shall be age-appropriate and based on up-to-date evidence and scientific strategies and shall actively promote safer sex practices among the general population, especially among key populations; safer sex practices that reduce risk of HIV infection; universal access to evidence-based and relevant information and education, and medically safe, affordable, effective and quality treatment; sexual abstinence and sexual fidelity; and consistent and correct condom use.

The term “key affected populations” refers to those groups of persons at higher risk of HIV exposure, or affected populations whose behavior make them more likely to be exposed to HIV or to transmit the virus, as determined by the Department of Health (DOH).

The bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to integrate basic and age-appropriate instruction on the causes, modes of transmission, impacts of HIV infection and ways of preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, human rights-based principles, and information on treatment, care, and support to promote stigma-reduction in relevant subjects taught in public and private learning institutions, including alternative and indigenous learning systems using standardized information and epidemiological data from the Department of Health (DOH).

Moreover, all public and private employers, and employees, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall be regularly provided with standardized basic information and instruction on HIV and AIDS, including topics on confidentiality in the workplace and reduction or elimination of stigma and discrimination.

The bill mandates the State to ensure that all overseas Filipino workers and diplomatic, military, trade, and labor officials and personnel to be assigned overseas shall attend a seminar on the causes, manner of prevention and impacts of HIV and AIDS before being granted a certification of overseas assignment.

The PNAC, DOH and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Cities of the Philippines and League of Municipalities of the Philippines, shall develop and disseminate to all provinces, cities and municipalities evidence-based, gender-responsive, age-appropriate, culturally-sensitive and human rights-oriented programs and tools to prevent new infections, halt the spread of HIV and respond to the epidemic in the local communities in a timely, effective and efficient manner.

The bill also provides that the HIV/AIDS education and information dissemination shall form part of the delivery of health services by health practitioners, workers and personnel.

Authors of the bill are Reps. Kaka Bag-ao, Harry Roque, Victor Yap, Deputy Speakers Pia Cayetano, Sharon Garin and Romero Quimbo, Reps. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jr., Sandra Eriguel, Estrellita Suansing, Horacio Suansing, Jr., Imelda Marcos, Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, Angelina Tan, Gary Alejano, Gus Tambunting, Tom Villarin, Ron Salo, Raymond Democrito Mendoza, Gabriel Bordado, Jr., Lawrence Fortun, Manuel Jose Dalipe, Edward Vera Perez Maceda, Ramon Rocamora, Elisa Kho, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Sol Aragones, Rene Relampagos, Alfredo Garbin, Jr., Linabelle Ruth Villarica, John Marvin Nieto, Teodoro Montoro, Joaquin Chipeco, Jr., Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, Carmelo Lazatin II, Ma. Lucille Nava, Anthony Bravo, Nancy Catamco, Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Rodel Batocabe, Christopher Co, Pablo Ortega, Mark Go, Ruby Sahali, Evelina Escudero, Alfred Vargas, Ma. Lourdes Aggabao, Micaela Violago, Romeo, Acop, Michelle Antonio, Cecilia Leonila Chavez, Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Mario Vittorio Mariño, Wilter Wee Palma II, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Maximo Rodriguez, Jr., Sarah Jane Elago, Florida Robes, Roger Mercado, Anna Marie Villaraza-Suarez, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Rozzano Rufino Biazon, Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, Leopoldo Bataoil, Ana Cristina Go, Scott Davies Lanete, Celso Lobregat, Len Alonte-Naguiat, Isagani Amatong, Alfredo Benitez, Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, Ann Hofer, Virgilio Lacson, Dennis Laogan, Joseph Stephen Paduano, Deogracias Ramos, Jesus Nonato Sacdalan, Jose Tejada and Sherwin Tugna. / RBB / MVIP

Source: House of Representatives Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Season's Greetings from Cong. Albee Benitez

Tatak Metro 3rd - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 19:20



Salamat sa Pagsalig
Malipayon nga Paskua!
Sa aton pag-upod kag paghili-usa,
Padayon ang Asenso kag masanag
nga Bag-ong Tuig!
Cong. Albee Benitez

Lawmaker: Public housing to solve ‘homelessness’ in PH

Cong. Albee News Feed - Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:12




Saturday, December 2, 2017
By Carla N. Cañet



BACOLOD. Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez speaks at the 39th National Convention of the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines Inc. at L’ Fisher hotel in Bacolod City Friday. (Carla N. Cañet)

NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez said the country is facing a serious problem on the lack of decent housing as 57 percent of the Filipinos are still homeless.

Benitez, chairs of the House committee on housing and urban resettlement, spoke Friday before the more 500 delegates of the 39th National Convention of the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines (Rebap) Inc. held at L’ Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City.

He said the government has to settle the problem because this has created a community of renters due to high cost of owning a house.

“And who is responsible for this in finding solution? Nobody has realized that a lot of our people cannot afford a housing unit because the cost to buy one is quite unaffordable to the middle class earners, and the increase in the cost of real properties grow fast,” he added.

Benitez said he is confident that with the passage of the law creating the Department of Housing hopefully by next year, this serious problem will be addressed.

He added that it took nine Congresses or 27 years to push for the creation of the Department of Housing.

“There were instances that it was passed by the Lower House and then the House of Senate did not approve it, so this important legislation became dormant,” Benitez said.

With the passage of this major legislation, the proposed establishment of public housing, using government owned properties can best address the lack of decent homes for Filipinos, he added.

Benitez said he will push for the utilization of government-owned properties for public housing.

In Metro Manila alone, the government owns about 3,400 hectares of land which is sufficient to accommodate about 600,000 families, he noted.

“It’s high time that we provide our people decent and dignified homes to make this country a better place to live in,” Benitez added.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

House probe on sugar prices soon

Cong. Albee News Feed - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 19:51



Saturday, December 2, 2017
By BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

A congressional inquiry is expected to commence soon on complaints of sugar farmers versus the unabated entry or smuggling of imported alternative sweeteners that are driving down prices of locally produced sugar.

Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District), who authored the Sugarcane Industry Development Act, yesterday said that he will file a resolution in the House of Representatives, calling for a congressional probe into the matter on Monday.

Benitez said he wants to see “if market forces are at play”, or there are people who are taking advantage of the situation.

Noting that the prices are now at almost a break-even for sugar farmers, Benitez said they will be on the losing end, if it continues.

The Negros Farmworkers and ARB Producers Federation, in a statement earlier, said a severe crisis will hit small agrarian reform beneficiaries if the downward trend is not arrested.

Sugar Regulatory Administration chief Hermenegildo Serafica said earlier that the SRA board has created a committee to investigate the cause of the decline in mill gate sugar prices and, in the meantime, is holding in abeyance any further importation of sugar.

The mill gate price of sugar has dropped to P1,100 per 50 Lkg bag from the P1,800 level during crop year 2013-2014, P1,500 in CY 2014-2015 and P1,300 in CY 2015-2016 for a four-year slump, the SRA said.* GPB

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Congressman Suggests Ongoing Price Manipulation Among Sugar Traders

Cong. Albee News Feed - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 19:39

Benitez: I will file a resolution calling for an inquiry into the matter



Saturday, December 2, 2017
By Paulo Loreto Lim

Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez yesterday echoed the call of sugarcane planters, who recently demanded the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) conduct an investigation into dropping “mill gate prices,” revealing plans to convene a congressional investigation.

“I will file a resolution on Monday to call [an] inquiry into this matter,” the congressman said.

“I received the report that claimed some traders were involved in alleged [price] manipulations,” he explained. “[Planters] asked if I would agree to calling for a congressional investigation and, I said, ‘No problem, we are going to do that.”

Recently, Sadrico Cornelio of the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producers Federation claimed the “substantial drop” in the price of sugar may lead to a sugar crisis, noting, as “mill gate prices” fall, retail prices remain high.

“Mill gate” price, sometimes referred to as a “factory gate” price, refers to the actual cost of a product, comprised of elements including labor and energy costs, but free of any markup.

Earlier this year, General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA) Secretary-General Wennie Sancho said he would like to see a rise in sugar prices, noting, “If sugar prices are high, it will assure the livelihood of sugar workers.”/PLL, WDJ

Source: Watchmen Daily Journal

Lawmaker to seek inquiry on ‘sugar manipulation’

Cong. Albee News Feed - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 18:36




Saturday, December 2, 2017
Teresa D. Ellera

NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez said Friday he will file December 4, a resolution calling for a congressional inquiry into the alleged manipulation of some traders that caused the decline in the mill gate prices of sugar.

“I got the report that the alleged manipulation by some traders is happening. They were asking me If I will agree to having a congressional investigation, and I said, ‘No problem’ we are going to do that,” he said.

Benitez pointed out that because of the claims of both the planters and the workers organizations, there is a need to determine if the prices are market-driven or there are really people taking advantage of the situation.

He added that sugar workers are affected, with sugar prices at almost a breakeven situation.

Some planters said they will suffer losses, if anything lower than the present pricing happens, he said.

“I will file a resolution on Monday to call for an inquiry into this matter,” Benitez said.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

RevGov unlikely, Albee says

Cong. Albee News Feed - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 16:01




Saturday, December 2, 2017
BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Despite the push of some Negrense allies of President Rodrigo Duterte for a revolutionary government, Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) yesterday said he believes it is not likely to happen.

Proponents of the revolutionary government are conducting a nationwide signature campaign, to authorize President Rodrigo Duterte to form a revolutionary government, in preparation for the establishment of a federal system of government.

That is already predicting something that will not likely to happen, Benitez said, stressing that the House of Representatives and Senate are now discussing constitutional amendments for federalism.

That is like the carriage before the horse, he said, apparently referring to formation of a revolutionary government, before the establishment of a federal form of government.

Benitez, who spoke yesterday at the annual national convention of the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines at L'Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City, said President Duterte was only emphasizing that Filipinos should take a look at changing the form of government, to end corruption.

The proposed adoption of a revolutionary government came under attack, as people expressed alarm over it.

Benitez said he is not aware on the motive of some Duterte supporters to push for a revolutionary government. But he said it could be for personal gains by some.

“At the end of the day, I think that will not benefit the country,” Benitez said.

He added that the declaration of a revolutionary government is far-fetched. “At the rate we are going, even in the Senate, is already amenable to the constitutional amendments,” Benitez said.

“If we want change to happen, it is not just changing the people, who are elected, and not changing the people who sit as President, in Congress, or in the executive branch. This is probably the changing of the system itself, Benitez said, on the message that President Duterte wants to convey.

He also noted a big development in the tourism industry of the country, which really helps the country.

“If we have a revolutionary government, who will visit us?” Benitez asked.

During the launching of RevGov in Bacolod on Thursday, its secretary general, George Justin Mapili said that a RevGov will be a transition government while the structure for a federal government is being established.

Mapili said that, automatically, all positions from the vice president down to the barangay will be declared vacant after the establishment of a revolutionary government, and the President will re-appoint only those who have good or clean records.*GPB

About 3,000 members of the RevGov (Revolutionary Government) Para sa Masa in Negros Occidental signed a manifesto on Thursday authorizing President Duterte to form a revolutionary government during its launching at the Pavillion Hotel in Bacolod City.

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

NegOcc solon notes housing crisis in PHL, cites solutions

Cong. Albee News Feed - Sat, 12/02/2017 - 13:54




Saturday, December 2, 2017
BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said he is banking on the creation of the Department of Housing to address what he calls a “housing crisis”, that is now being experienced in the country.



Rep. Alfredo Benitez (8th from left) with officials of the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines Inc., headed by Rhoniel Mercado, during their national convention in Bacolod City*

Benitez, chairperson of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said yesterday that he hopes it will be passed by Congress next month, as it had been proposed 27 years ago yet.

Speaking before the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines national convention at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City, Benitez said 57 percent of the country’s population has no homes, while 27 percent cannot afford a decent house.

Because of this, he added, the country is turning into a population of “renters”.

If the government will not intervene in this situation, there will be more informal settlers, especially in the urban areas, Benitez warned.

Among the solutions, he said, is the establishment of public housing.

He said they are also consolidating all government lands in major cities, to be used for the construction of public housing projects.

At the board meeting of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Wednesday last week, Benitez said they will proposed an executive order to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, that will allow all government lands within the jurisdiction of HUDCC to be allocated for housing purposes, among other related projects.

In Metro Manila alone, the government owns 3,400 hectares of land, of which 1,138 hectares are inhabited by informal settlers.

“If we are able to get 20 percent of it,” Benitez said “it is enough to fit in 600,000 families of informal settlers.”

If we do this all over again, we may be able to eradicate hopelessness for the informal settlers in the country and in the near future, he added.*GPB

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

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