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Updated: 28 min 27 sec ago

Benitez guest speaker at 39th confab of real estate brokers

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 20:42




Friday, December 1, 2017

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) is the invited guest speaker today at the 39th Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines Inc. national convention, that is ongoing at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City, REBAP president Rhoneil Mercado said.

He added they invited the solon as he is the chairman of the House Committee on Housing, a press release said.

Mercado said that the opening of the convention yesterday was very successful, and more than 500 licensed brokers from all over the country registered for the event.

They attended a mass before the opening. Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. also extended his greetings to the real estate brokers attending the convention.

“As we all want to be environment conscious, we have released doves and butterflies during the opening. The ringing of the bell signaled the opening of business and exhibits where the developers showcase their projects,” he said.

They also had their Continuing Professional Development seminars yesterday.

More than 30 chapters were well represented in the convention. They are going around exhibits and have themselves accredited with several developers around town and nationwide, the press release said.

Mercado said the first convention was held in 1999. He said Bacolod City is a great venue for a convention. “Our participants got excited and more than 20 percent arrived here ahead. They took the time to really see the place, appreciate Bacolod, and look what it can offer.”

Chairman of the convention, Randy Christopher Berner, said the opening was very beautiful. “Personally, it was something different. We let the delegates experience Bacolod. That’s the main thought of our convention. We don’t want them to stay in their hotels and we want them to enjoy Bacolod and appreciate the city and what Bacolod can offer to our delegates, who come from the different chapters in the country.”

Bacolod had been bidding to host this convention and it is high time that it does so this year, he said.*

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Benitez to speak at real estate confab December 1

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 08:08




Friday, December 01, 2017
Carla N. Cañet

NEGROS Occidental third district Representative Alfredo Benitez will be the guest speaker Friday, December 1, in the 39th Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines Inc. (Rebap) national convention being held at L'Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City.

Rebap president Rhoneil R. M. Mercado said they invited the Negrense lawmaker being the House committee on housing and urban development.

Mercado said Thursday's opening of the convention was very successful, with more than 500 licensed brokers from all over the country attending the three-day gathering.

"As we all want to be environment conscious, we have released doves and butterflies during the opening. The ringing of the bell signals the opening of business and exhibits wherein the developers showcase their respective projects," he said.

Continuing professional development seminars were also held on Thursday, November 30.

Convention chairman Randy Christopher Berner said the opening program was "very beautiful."

"Personally, it was something different. We let the delegates experience Bacolod. That's the main thought of our convention. We don't want them to stay in their hotels and we want them to enjoy Bacolod and appreciate the city and what Bacolod can offer," he added.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

120 getting free operations

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 15:31




Friday, November 24, 2017
BY GILBERT BAYORAN

The Nikki Cares Surgical Mission organized by Dominique “Nikki” Lopez Benitez, wife of Rep. Alfredo Benitez, is being eyed for duplication in other districts of Negros Occidental.



Nikki Lopez-Benitez, wife of Rep. Alfredo Benitez, with one of the Makati Medical Center surgeons, who joined the surgical mission at the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.* Aileen Ascalon Javier photo

The three-day major surgical operations on 120 identified patients started yesterday at the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City, with the assistance of about 81 doctors and nurses, and health-related personnel of the Makati Medical Center.

The 120 patients, are among the 500 residents in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, who underwent pre-screening on Oct. 13.

Similar surgical missions were previously initiated in the provinces of Isabela and Aklan. “ We have been doing it for seven years, but the mission has been going on for more than 20 years already,” Nikki Benitez said.

She said Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. asked if it could also held at the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City, to cater to residents of the 6th district of Negros Occidental.

Surgeons and nurses from the Makati Medical Center are performing major and minor surgeries involving thyroid, hernias, cleft lip and palate, gallbladder stones, obstetric and gynecological cases, such as ovarian cysts, small breast masses, among others.

A minor operation costs about P10,000, while a major operation requires P50,000 to P100,000, if performed by private doctors.

Rep. Benitez, who described the surgical mission as a very laudable project, as many cannot afford surgery because it is expensive.

With this project, Benitez said the beneficiaries will avail of major and minor surgeries, free of charge, and held in the district.

“The way I see it, it is something that should be pursued not just today, maybe we can do it regularly, or quarterly,” he added.

This is not a typical medical mission, where medicines and vitamins are being distributed. This time, the focus is surgery, Benitez, who is now on his last term as congressman of the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, said.

“By the first quarter of next year, maybe we can hold it in the 6th district,” he added.

Turning 50 this year, and marking their 25th wedding anniversary as well as the graduation of their son, Nikki said, instead of celebrating, they decided to hold a surgical mission in Negros Occidental.

Aside from tapping the services of the Makati Medical Center health professionals, Nikki added that they also purchased medicines, while others were donated, for the surgical mission.

The surgical mission, that started yesterday and will end Nov. 26, was supported by the mayors of the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, TLJPH, and the Betty Bantug Benitez Foundation.*

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

120 patients undergo surgery through Nikki Cares Mission

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 15:11




Friday, November 24, 2017
By Teresa D. Ellera

A TOTAL of 120 patients from the Third District of Negros Occidental will undergo surgical operations under The Nikki Cares Surgical Mission organized by Dominique “Nikki” Lopez Benitez, wife of Representative Alfredo Benitez.

The three-day mission started Thursday, November 23, at the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City, with the assistance of 81 doctors and nurses as well as health-related personnel of the Makati Medical Center.

The 120 patients who will undergo major surgeries were among the 500 residents who underwent pre-screening on Oct. 13.

Similar surgical missions were also previously initiated in provinces of Isabela and Aklan.

“We have been doing it for seven years already, but the mission has been going on for more than 20 years,” Nikki Benitez said.

Surgeons and nurses from the Makati Medical Center are performing major and minor surgeries, including for thyroid, hernias, cleft lip and palate, gallbladder stones, as well as obstetric and gynecological cases such as ovarian cysts, small breast masses, among others.

A minor operation costs about P10,000 while a major operation requires P50,000 to P100,000, if performed by a private doctor.

Congressman Benitez said beneficiaries from his district avail of major and minor surgeries free of charge.

“It is something, the way I see it, that should be pursued not just today, maybe we can do it regularly, or quarterly,” he added.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

‘We have the hospital, why we don’t use it?’ - Cong. Benitez

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 08:19



by Jun delos Reyes on Fri, 11/24/2017

“We have the hospital, why don’t we use it?”

That’s the question that needs a big answer, Congressman Alfredo ‘Albee’ Benitez of the 3rd District of Negros Occidental said, as he was surprised when he visited the two station Medical Wards with 11 rooms of Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital New Annex Building Extension. He noticed there were no beds, no equipment, no patients and even no doctors and nurses where the on-going Nikki Cares Surgical Mission (Nov. 23 to 25, 2017) in Silay City is being held.



BENITEZ AT PROV’L HOSPITAL. Congressman Alfredo ‘Albee’ Benitez (3rd District of Negros Occidental) with Medical Director Dr. Girlie Pinongan of Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital visit the patients at the Female Surgical Ward of Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.*(Jun de los Reyes/NDB photo)

The solon said that the surgical operations were facilitated in Silay City “because our indigent patients cannot afford to pay the cost of operations which would need a specialized doctor.”

About 500 patients have already been screened to undergo free surgical operations with free medicines.

“We hope we will do it regularly or quarterly. First quarter of next year 2018 will be held in Kabankalan City in the 6th District of Negros Occidental. Mayor Isidro Zayco has already approved the proposal,” Cong. Benitez said.

He likewise talked with Medical Director, Dr. Girlie Pinongan on the real situation of the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital.

Dominique ‘Nikki’ Lopez Benitez, wife of Cong. Benitez said, “It’s time to give back for all the blessings we have received from our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a mission and passion to help our people of 3rd District and the province.”

According to Ms. Benitez, the Mission started 30 years ago in the Philippines and throughout the province. “We have done this for the past 7 years and it’s still going on which also coincides with my 50 years of service to the people and our 25th wedding anniversary and thanksgiving to our son Javy Benitez who has graduated in Political Science and Computer Science in Sta. Clara University in California, U.S.A.”

A total of 81 doctors and nurses from Makati Medical Center Foundation volunteered and facilitated the Nikki Cares Surgical Mission.”*(Jun de los Reyes)

 

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

Benitez: Federalism ‘Running Against Time’ Due To Heavy Congressional Agenda

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 20:37



By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
November 23, 2017

Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez said, with both chambers of Congress currently handling several pending bills, along with impeachment proceedings for Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the time frame to discuss the transition to federalism continues to dwindle.

Speaking to members of the media at the House of Representatives in Metro Manila, he said pending bills, including those on the death penalty and tax reform, must be acted upon, which has resulted in, as the congressman characterized, the move towards federalism “running against time.”

Benitez earlier expressed optimism on the schedule regarding the transition, saying it would be implemented by 2022, when the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte ends.

Meanwhile, on reported sugar smuggling taking place in the country, Benitez said the Sugar Regulatory Administration needs to strictly implement Sugar Order No. 3, which regulates the importation of sugar and other sweeteners./DGB, WDJ

Source: Watchmen Daily Journal

IN 3RD DISTRICT Mayors welcome Teach for the Philippines

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 14:19



on Sat, 11/18/2017



Rep. Alfredo Benitez (seated, center), with Talisay Mayor Neil Lizares, Victorias Mayor Wantan Palanca, TFP vice-chair Margarita Delgado, and Silay Mayor Mark Golez (seated, l-r); and (standing) councilors, education consultants, and DepEd representatives*

Nine teacher-fellows trained by Teach for the Philippines will immerse themselves in selected public schools in the cities of Talisay, Silay and Victorias, in the third district of Negros Occidental by June 2018, to help provide innovation and more productivity in the learning system to improve the performance of teachers and students, a press release from the Office of Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez said.

This was the initial agreement with the mayors of Talisay, Silay and Victorias, with Teach for the Philippines vice-chairperson Margarita Delgado and Benitez, who attended the recent gathering of education stakeholders in Talisay City where the TFP presented their Fellowship Program flagship initiative.

Benitez initiated the orientation activity, attended by Talisay Mayor Neil Lizares, Silay Mayor Mark Golez, and Victorias Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, together with their respective sanggunian chairpersons on education committee, and education consultants. Also present were Negros Occ. Division OIC SDS Gladys Amylaine Sales, and Silay Schools Division admin officer Jowel Alimon, the press release said.

Teach for the Philippines is a nationwide non-profit organization working with progressive local governments and school divisions that share the common vision for education equity. The Fellowship Program recruits volunteers from diverse academic disciplines and professional backgrounds, provides them with intensive pre-service training on progressive teaching, and fields them on a two-year leadership development program in a Philippine public school. The teacher-fellows immerse themselves in the classroom and the community, interacting with students, teachers, parents and neighbors, even village leaders, and exploring holistic education approaches to attain enrichment breakthroughs.

Benitez said “in harnessing the best and the brightest, we are helping to upgrade the education system in the countryside. If we have good teachers, we will also have good students.”

A memorandum of agreement is expected to be finalized with participating stakeholders by end of January 2018, as the mayors and councilors assured the TFP of support, the press release said.

The TFP was also represented by Jan Kevin Rivera, interim director for government relations and placement, and Levi Guillermo Geganzo, the manager for government relations and placement, the press release added.*

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

3rd District Mayors Welcome ‘Teach For The Philippines’

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:27



on Thu, 11/16/2017

By June 2018, nine teacher-fellows trained by Teach for the Philippines will immerse themselves in selected public schools in the cities of Talisay, Silay and Victorias in the Third District of Negros Occidental, to help provide innovation and more productivity in the learning system to improve performance of both teachers and students.

This was the initial agreement with the Mayors of Talisay, Silay and Victorias, with Teach for the Philippines vice-chairperson Margarita Delgado and Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez who attended the recent gathering of education stakeholders in Talisay City where TFP presented their flagship initiative, the Fellowship Program.

Cong. Benitez initiated the orientation activity, attended by Talisay Mayor Neil Lizares, Silay Mayor Mark Golez and Victorias Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca together with members of their respective City Councils’ chairpersons on education committees and education consultants. Also present were Negros Occ. Division OIC SDS Gladys Amylaine Sales, and Silay Schools Division Admin Officer Jowel Alimon.

Teach for the Philippines (TFP) is a nationwide non-profit organization working with progressive local governments and school divisions who share the common vision for education equity. The Fellowship Program recruits volunteers from diverse academic disciplines and professional backgrounds, provide them with intensive pre-service training on progressive teaching, and fields them on a two-year leadership development program in a Philippine public school. The teacher-fellows immerse themselves in the classroom and the community, interacting with students, teachers, parents and neighbors, even village leaders, exploring holistic education approaches to attain enrichment breakthroughs.

Cong. Benitez said as he welcomed TFP for the Third District, “In harnessing the best and the brightest, we are helping to upgrade the education system in the countryside. If we have good teachers, we will also have good students.”

A memorandum of agreement is expected to be finalized with participating stakeholders by end of January 2018, as the Mayors and Councilors assured the TFP of support in ensuring the cooperation of their respective City Councils

TFP was also represented by Jan Kevin Rivera, interim director for government relations and placement, and Levi Guillermo Geganzo, manager for government relations and placement.*

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

Negros Occidental 3rd District Mayors Sign Agreement with Teach for the Philippines

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:16



November 16, 2017

The mayors of third congressional district local government units Talisay City, Silay City, and Victorias City recently signed an agreement that would have teacher-fellows trained by Teach for the Philippines (TFP), a non-profit organization that works to expanding education across the country, working in local public schools.



(From left) Talisay City Mayor Neil Lizares III, Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Teach for the Philippines (TFP) Vice Chair Margarita Delgado, and Silay City Mayor Mark Andrew Golez after signing an agreement to have TFP teacher-fellows work in local public schools.

The mayors took part in the signing alongside Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez and TFP Vice Chair Margarita Delgado.

“We are helping to upgrade the education system in the countryside,” the congressman said. “If we have good teachers, we will also have good students.”

Also present at the signing were Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Schools Division Superintendent for Negros Occidental Gladys Amylines Sales and Silay Schools Division Administrative Officer Jowel Alimon./WDJ

Source: Watchmen Daily Journal

Silay, Habitat ink housing project MOA

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 21:08



on Tue, 11/14/2017

Silay City Government and Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation, Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday for a multi-million housing project in Brgy. E Lopez, Silay City.

The MOA signed by Mayor Mark Andrew Arthur Golez of Silay, and Michael Meaney, Managing Director of HHPF, covers the construction of an initial 100 units of cement-bamboo frame housing units in 10 months, with an estimated cost of about P45 million.

Third District Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who is the chair of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, and Lili Fuentes, project director of Habitat, signed as witnesses.

The duplexes will be constructed at BonBon Resettlement Project Phase 3, which was developed by the Silay City Government using financial assistance from the National Housing Authority under the LGU Resettlement Assistance Program.

In his message prior to the signing, Mayor Golez thanked Habitat for the project which he said will be a big help to the less fortunate brothers and sisters of the City.

For his part, Meaney, said he is looking forward to a strong partnership between Habitat and the City of Silay.

The MOA signed initially covers 100 units but Habitat is committed to raise funds to complete the construction of 546 housing units, including some community facilities.

Congressman Benitez welcomes the project and also shared some sustainable initiatives being piloted in some housing sites, such as, the provision of water to the households using solar-powered driven pumps.

Also present during the signing ceremony held at the Operations Center in Silay City were Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Francisco Benitez brother of Cong. Albee and President of the Philippine Women's University, Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego, City Administrator Ryan Montoro, and councilors Linda Caja and Tom Ledesma of the committee on housing.

Vice Governor Lacson said, he is glad to know that bamboo will be used in the project, citing that the province of Negros Occidental is currently have a strong advocacy to promote bamboo.

Meanwhile, E. B. Magalona Mayor Malacon, who was also present during the MOA signing, together with the municipal councilors, said he is hopeful that with their efforts in housing, in coordination with Municipal Planning Officer Erwin Poniado, they will also be future partners of Habitat

Other guests during the MOA signing also included Judges Dyna Trocio, Ana Bernad and Eunice Cuansing, and members of I-HOME-Bacolod.

Habitat Bacolod/Panay staff Ma. Victoria Abello, Silay Housing Authority Officer Alore Golez and her staff, and Marie June Pavillar-Castro, District Coordinator on Housing Concerns, assisted during the MOA signing and provided technical assistance support during several project meetings.*

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Silay, Habitat for Humanity sign housing project deal

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 21:03




on Tue, 11/14/2017

Silay City Government and Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation, Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday for a multi-million housing project in Brgy. E Lopez, Silay City.



BACOLOD. The signing of the memorandum of agreement Monday between Silay City and Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation Inc. for the construction of a multi-million housing in Barangay E. Lopez was led by Mayor Mark Golez (seated, 3rd from right) and HHPFI Managing Director Michael Meaney (2nd from right), in the presence of Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez (3rd from left) and HHPFI project director Lili Fuentes (right) with Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (2nd from left) and Francisco Benitez (left). (Contributed Photo/Jujean Aboy)

The MOA signed by Mayor Mark Andrew Arthur Golez of Silay, and Michael Meaney, Managing Director of HHPF, covers the construction of an initial 100 units of cement-bamboo frame housing units in 10 months, with an estimated cost of about P45 million.

Third District Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who is the chair of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, and Lili Fuentes, project director of Habitat, signed as witnesses.

The duplexes will be constructed at BonBon Resettlement Project Phase 3, which was developed by the Silay City Government using financial assistance from the National Housing Authority under the LGU Resettlement Assistance Program.

In his message prior to the signing, Mayor Golez thanked Habitat for the project which he said will be a big help to the less fortunate brothers and sisters of the City.

For his part, Meaney, said he is looking forward to a strong partnership between Habitat and the City of Silay.

The MOA signed initially covers 100 units but Habitat is committed to raise funds to complete the construction of 546 housing units, including some community facilities.

Congressman Benitez welcomes the project and also shared some sustainable initiatives being piloted in some housing sites, such as, the provision of water to the households using solar-powered driven pumps.

Also present during the signing ceremony held at the Operations Center in Silay City were Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Francisco Benitez brother of Cong. Albee and President of the Philippine Women's University, Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego, City Administrator Ryan Montoro, and councilors Linda Caja and Tom Ledesma of the committee on housing.

Vice Governor Lacson said, he is glad to know that bamboo will be used in the project, citing that the province of Negros Occidental is currently have a strong advocacy to promote bamboo.

Meanwhile, E. B. Magalona Mayor Malacon, who was also present during the MOA signing, together with the municipal councilors, said he is hopeful that with their efforts in housing, in coordination with Municipal Planning Officer Erwin Poniado, they will also be future partners of Habitat

Other guests during the MOA signing also included Judges Dyna Trocio, Ana Bernad and Eunice Cuansing, and members of I-HOME-Bacolod.

Habitat Bacolod/Panay staff Ma. Victoria Abello, Silay Housing Authority Officer Alore Golez and her staff, and Marie June Pavillar-Castro, District Coordinator on Housing Concerns, assisted during the MOA signing and provided technical assistance support during several project meetings.* PR

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

Silay Gov't & Habitat for Humanity Sign MOA for Housing Project

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:19



on Tue, 11/14/2017

Silay City Government and Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation, Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday for a multi-million housing project in Brgy. E Lopez, Silay City.



MOA Signing: From right, Lili Fuentes and Michael Meaney of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Silay Mayor Mark Andrew Arthur Golez, Cong. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, Vice Governor Eugenio Lacson and Francisco Benitez holding signed the memorandum of agreement between Silay City and HHPFI. Standing behind are housing stakeholders and legislators of Silay City, Habitat, and I-HOME Bacolod.*

The MOA signed by Mayor Mark Andrew Arthur Golez of Silay, and Michael Meaney, Managing Director of HHPF, covers the construction of an initial 100 units of cement-bamboo frame housing units in 10 months, with an estimated cost of about P45 million.

Third District Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who is the chair of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, and Lili Fuentes, project director of Habitat, signed as witnesses.

The duplexes will be constructed at BonBon Resettlement Project Phase 3, which was developed by the Silay City Government using financial assistance from the National Housing Authority under the LGU Resettlement Assistance Program.

In his message prior to the signing, Mayor Golez thanked Habitat for the project which he said will be a big help to the less fortunate brothers and sisters of the City.

For his part, Meaney, said he is looking forward to a strong partnership between Habitat and the City of Silay.

The MOA signed initially covers 100 units but Habitat is committed to raise funds to complete the construction of 546 housing units, including some community facilities.

Congressman Benitez welcomes the project and also shared some sustainable initiatives being piloted in some housing sites, such as, the provision of water to the households using solar-powered driven pumps.

Also present during the signing ceremony held at the Operations Center in Silay City were Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Francisco Benitez brother of Cong. Albee and President of the Philippine Women's University, Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego, City Administrator Ryan Montoro, and councilors Linda Caja and Tom Ledesma of the committee on housing.

Vice Governor Lacson said, he is glad to know that bamboo will be used in the project, citing that the province of Negros Occidental is currently have a strong advocacy to promote bamboo.

Meanwhile, E. B. Magalona Mayor Malacon, who was also present during the MOA signing, together with the municipal councilors, said he is hopeful that with their efforts in housing, in coordination with Municipal Planning Officer Erwin Poniado, they will also be future partners of Habitat

Other guests during the MOA signing also included Judges Dyna Trocio, Ana Bernad and Eunice Cuansing, and members of I-HOME-Bacolod.

Habitat Bacolod/Panay staff Ma. Victoria Abello, Silay Housing Authority Officer Alore Golez and her staff, and Marie June Pavillar-Castro, District Coordinator on Housing Concerns, assisted during the MOA signing and provided technical assistance support during several project meetings.*(Marie June Pavillar-Castro)

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

Solon eyes zero backlog in ‘Yolanda’ housing

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 17:11



November 10, 2017 at 11:10 am by Maricel Cruz and Bill Casas

THE chairperson of the House of Representatives’ committee on housing and urban development has urged the National Housing Authority to aim for zero backlog in housing units intended for families affected by Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, chairperson of the House of Representatives committee on housing, issued this after over 190,000 housing units were reported due for completion by next year for the families of “Yolanda” survivors who suffer the wrath of the strong typhoon in 2013.

“Next year, the fifth anniversary of ‘‘Yolanda’’ should be observed with all homeless victims being made to experience the comforts of having their own homes,” Benitez said.

Meanwhile, Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez on Wednesday night led the sundown memorial in Tacloban City where she and Taclobanons released at least 1,000 sky lanterns to honor the first responders and casualties of Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”

“Tonight [Wednesday], we pay tribute and salute the selflessness of all volunteers and organizations that took part and contributed in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts of the communities affected by the typhoon,”  Romualdez told the crowd at the Sangyawan grounds of the Balyuan Center facing Cancabato Bay near Tacloban City Hall during the 4th anniversary of Yolanda.  

“The overwhelming support that came our way, gave us comfort and hope amidst the wrath of devastation,” Romualdez said.

“We celebrate the strength and resilience of our people, of our phenomenal capacity to survive that could prove to be an inspiration to our fellow Filipinos, many of which live amidst challenges caused by disasters and conflict,” Romualdez added.

In her speech, Romualdez asked prayers for “Yolanda” victims, stressing they should not be forgotten as their deaths raised awareness on disaster management and prevention not only in the country, but in the entire world.

At the same time, poor farmers and fisherfolks from Eastern Visayas lamented Wednesday their situation they said was far from the state of recovery and rehabilitation. 

“Contrary to the government’s claim that Yolanda disaster victims in Eastern Visayas will benefit from the Asean integration and Asean free trade area, real recovery and rehabilitation will remain distant as long as landlessness and feudal conditions exist. EV is an agricultural and coastal region. Land-use conversion and declaring shores as no-dwelling zones only favors local and foreign business interests,”  said Antonio Flores, secretary-general of KMP. 

      “Year after year, Eastern Visayas farmers and fisherfolks can only hope for real recovery. More than the calamitous effects of Yolanda, their lives and livelihood are always kept at worst conditions by the perennial landlessness and poverty in the entire region. Even before Yolanda, Eastern Visayas and its provinces are among the poorest in the country. The hunger and poverty situation went from worse to extreme,” Flores said.

According to IBON Foundation, 53 percent  of EV’s farmers are landless, 27 percent are underemployed and 39 percent of the regional population are among the poorest. 

The delivery of social services is slow and corruption-ridden. 

Only 25 percent of the promised housing units were delivered and 47 percent of livelihood services was accessed. 

Benitez also called for the swift release of funds to finance  Typhoon Yolanda Housing Project as noted by the Commission on Audit in the recently released 2016 Annual Financial Report for Government -Owned and -Controlled Corporations that included NHA.

Benitez said CoA also cited the alleged failure of the NHA and other agencies involved in “Yolanda” housing to make available relocation sites for displaced families in the typhoon-stricken areas.

“After the target three-year period for providing homeless families with a roof over their heads lapsed last year, only half of the target houses were completed. I find this fact sickening,” Benitez said.

Citing COA’s 2016 AFR, Benitez said the NHA completed only 49.84 percent or 190,413 houses out of the target 382,082 units in 2016.

Benitez also lamented that of the total houses completed and ready for distribution, only 76,004 are actually occupied.

“Many Yolanda victims have aired strong doubts as to the structural integrity of the houses being offered them. Corruption is to be blamed for this,” Benitez said.

Benitez earlier vowed to bring to justice officials and private contractors for the delay and substandard quality of housing projects.

“Four years have passed yet thousands still live in temporary housing or in danger zones,” Benitez lamented.

“It appears that, for many families, the tragedy continues,” he added.

Benitez’s committee earlier conducted a series of public hearings in Eastern Samar, Tacloban and Congress since August to probe the snail-paced implementation of “Yolanda” housing projects; and uncovered substantial information that aside from delays in the construction, substandard materials were used in the Yolanda housing project in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

In her speech, Romualdez said: “As we lift to the heaven these sky lanterns, we raise our prayers for our departed loved ones, for blessings on all dear to us, for peace in our homes and communities, and for the strength to move on and rise again.”

“November 8 is a day we will never forget. We will never forget the

friends and family we lost. We will never forget the pain and grief.

We will always remember the courage and selflessness of those who come to our side,” said Romualdez.

She added: “That is why every 8th of November is a date we will hold sacred, when

we recall how one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded,

struck our home region, leaving tens of thousands of people dead and

missing, millions homeless and livelihoods destroyed. 

“It was the worst of times, the adversities we will always keep in our hearts.”

Source: Manila Standard

Solon’s challenge: Zero backlog in ‘Yolanda’ housing

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 14:59




Published November 8, 2017, 10:00 PM
By Ben Rosario

Bring to zero the more than 190,000 backlog in housing units for Yolanda-affected families when the nation observes next year the fifth anniversary of the worst typhoon tragedy that hit the country in recent history.

That was the challenge aired by the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on housing to the National Housing Authority (NHA) when the country marked the fourth anniversary of the super-typhoon yesterday.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez also called for the swift release of funds to finance the Typhoon Yolanda Housing Project as noted by the Commission on Audit in the recently-released 2016 Annual Financial Report for Government Owned and -Controlled Corporations that included NHA.

“Next year, the fifth anniversary of Yolanda should be observed with all homeless victims being made to experience the comforts of having their own homes,” Benitez said.

Benitez said COA has also aired misgivings over the failure of the NHA and other agencies involved in Yolanda housing to make available relocation sites for displaced families in the typhoon stricken areas.

“After the target three-year period for providing homeless families with a roof over their heads lapsed last year, only half of the target houses were completed.  I find this fact sickening,” said Benitez.

Citing COA’s 2016 AFR, Benitez said that only 49.84 percent or 190,413 houses out of the target 382,082 units were completed by NHA in 2016.

The PDP-Laban stalwart also lamented that of the total houses completed and ready for distribution, only 76,004 are actually occupied.

“Many Yolanda victims have aired strong doubts as to the structural integrity of the houses being offered them.  Corruption is to be blamed for this,” Benitez said.

Earlier, the senior administration lawmaker vowed to bring to justice officials and private contractors for the delay and substandard quality of housing projects.

Since August, Rep. Benitez has led a series of public hearings in Eastern Samar, Tacloban and Congress to investigate the snail-paced implementation of Yolanda housing projects.

The committee had uncovered substantial information showing that aside from delays in the construction, substandard materials were used in the Yolanda housing project in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

An inspection team directed by the committee had discovered the use of 8 millimeter re-bars in the housing project in Balangiga.

In a joint meeting with the committee on good government in September, lawmakers had grilled National Housing Authority (NHA) officials on allegations of irregular bidding process where a single contractor – JC Tayag Builders – cornered the R800-million housing project in Eastern Samar.

 

Source: Manila Bulletin

4 years after ‘Yolanda’, victims still homeless

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 20:04




November 8, 2017
By TARA YAP, Charissa M. Luci-Atienza

ILOILO CITY – Four years after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the housing project for typhoon survivors in Antique province seems far from being completed.

Fr. Jose Elmer Cajilig, Western Visayas convenor of Kilusang Pagbabago (KP), said his group received complaints from residents of Bugasong and Pandan towns.

A pro-Duterte group, KP went to Bugasong and found that the housing project of the National Housing Authority (NHA) remains unfinished and that survivors are yet to be told of any concrete date for them to occupy the 1,787 housing units.

Residents outside the unfinished housing project said their homes are flooded every time there is heavy rainfall.

Residents claimed this only happened after EDDMARI Construction bulldozed the forested portion of Lacayon village and reclaimed four creeks for the Yolanda housing project.

In Pandan town, residents complained that another housing project has destroyed tracts of farmland. Michele Placio, a school teacher said that while the houses were not built yet, pre-development works are underway.

Residents have signed petitions and have brought their complaints to agencies such as Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Pandan Mayor Jonathan Tan, but no action has been taken.

Meanwhile, Cajilig vowed to bring the concern to the Office of the Participatory Governance under Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.

Meantime, Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez is counting on the Duterte government to run after those behind the purported subhuman and substandard Yolanda housing projects.

Romualdez thanked Duterte for his commitment to “hold accountable the parties involved in the anomalies” uncovered by the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez.

Romualdez vowed to provide permanent homes and livelihood opportunities to Yolanda survivors, lamenting that only 23, 414 units or 11.4 percent are being occupied and only 67, 754 units or 33 percent were actually constructed, , out of the projected 205, 128 housing units under the government’s resettlement and housing program.

Source: Tempo

Solon vows punishment for officials, contractors behind Yolanda housing mess

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 15:30



Published November 7, 2017 7:34pm

Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez on Tuesday vowed punishment for those responsible for the construction delay and substandard quality of the housing units for victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

Benitez, who chairs the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, made the pronouncement on the eve of the fourth-year anniversary of the deadly super typhoon.

In a statement, Benitez lamented the lack of concrete progress in the construction of houses for typhoon victims, who still live in temporary housing or in danger zones.

“It appears that, for many families, the tragedy continues,” he said.

The House panel has held several hearings investigating the snail-paced implementation of Yolanda housing projects.

During the investigation, the panel found out that substandard materials were used in the construction of houses for Typhoon Yolanda victims in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

Instead of 10 millimeter re-bars, the committee, through its inspection team, discovered that JC Tayag Builders, the contractor for the project, used substandard 8 millimeter re-bars for the construction of the housing units.

The House panel, in a joint meeting with the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, also grilled the National Housing Authority over the allegedly irregular bidding process where JC Tayag Builders cornered the P800-million housing project in Eastern Samar.

It was also found during the same hearing that NHA regional officials still recommended the extension of the contract of the JC Tayag Builders even if they already knew that the contractor used substandard materials.

“This is utterly unacceptable. Our kababayans in the Yolanda corridor have suffered enough yet some people have the gall to profit from their misfortune,” Benitez said.

The NHA, however, denied on Tuesday that the housing units being put up for Typhoon Yolanda victims were substandard, yet admitting to have structural defects.

Juanito Tayag, owner of JC Tayag Builders Inc., had belied during the House investigation the claim thaat the materials for the housing project were substandard.

In his testimony, Tayag said they did not use 8- millimeter steel rods for the construction of the houses instead of 10 millimeters.

Benitez said he will guarantee that officials and contractors who may have profited from the Yolanda housing projects will be held accountable.

“Four years but we see little progress. I am hoping that it would not take yet another four years to fulfill the promise of adequate housing for Yolanda survivors," he said.

"We will not let rest until Yolanda-affected families will finally have a safe and decent house to live in,” Benitez added. —Erwin Colcol/KBK, GMA News

Source: GMA News Online

Solon Vows Relentless Fight for Yolanda Homeless

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 11:02



08 November 2017

The chairman of the House of Representatives committee on housing vowed to bring to justice officials and private contractors for the delay and substandard quality of housing projects for Yolanda-affected families as the nation marks today the fourth year since the super typhoon devastated Visayas.

In a press statement, Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez lamented that four years have passed yet thousands still live in temporary housing or in danger zones. “It appears that, for many families, the tragedy continues,” he said.

Rep. Benitez has led a series of public hearings in Eastern Samar, Tacloban and Congress since August to probe the snail-paced implementation of Yolanda housing projects. The committee had uncovered substantial information that aside from delays in the construction, substandard materials were used in the Yolanda housing project in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

An inspection team directed by the committee had discovered the use of 8 millimeter re-bars in the housing project in Balangiga.

In a joint meeting with the committee on good government in September, lawmakers had grilled National Housing Authority (NHA) officials on allegations of irregular bidding process where a single contractor – JC Tayag Builders – cornered the 800-million housing project in Eastern Samar.

During the same hearing, it was also revealed that NHA regional officials still recommended the extension of the JC Tayag Builders’ contract despite knowing its use of substandard materials and huge negative slippages.

“This is utterly unacceptable. Our kababayans in the Yolanda corridor have suffered enough yet some people have the gall to profit from their misfortune,” Rep. Benitez bemoaned.
The Negros congressman said that he will personally ensure that officials and contractors who profited from Yolanda housing projects will be held accountable and charged in court.

Rep. Benitez also said that he will continue to press the government to fast-track the implementation of Yolanda housing projects.

“Four years but we see little progress. I am hoping that it would not take yet another four years to fulfill the promise of adequate housing for Yolanda survivors. We will not let rest until Yolanda-affected families will finally have a safe and decent house to live in,” he added. #

NHA: Contractor behind 'substandard' housing can't bid for Yolanda projects

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 16:06



Patty Pasion
Published 2:30 PM, November 07, 2017
Updated 3:05 PM, November 07, 2017

JC Tayag Builders is accused of constructing substandard houses for survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

MANILA, Philippines – The National Housing Authority (NHA) said on Tuesday, November 7, that contractor JC Tayag Builders will not be able to bid for the remaining projects in the post-Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) housing program.

The contractor is likely to face charges of perjury and syndicated estafa after making false statements during a House of Representatives probe into the allegedly substandard houses built for Yolanda survivors in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

Contractor Juanito Tayag was called to the congressional investigation following the visit of House committee on housing and urban development chairperson Alfredo Benitez to 3 housing sites.

Benitez and other lawmakers met with subcontractor Camilo Salazar who claimed that Tayag delivered rusty 8 millimeter (mm) steel rods when he ordered the 10 mm variation.

During the hearing, Tayag denied the use of 8 mm rods and instead said under oath that 10 mm rods were used in the construction.

The NHA declined to comment further on the case, saying it will address the matter in the proper forum.

But Engineer Grace Guevarra, one of the project heads, gave an assurance that contractors will not be paid until construction defects are corrected.

"It's a mass housing project. We can't skirt problems in construction. That is what we call construction defects. These are subject to rectification before we pay [the contractor]," she said.

The NHA said it has not encountered issues with other contractors except for the usual cases where it had to cancel the award due to failure of a contractor to submit documentary requirements.

Out of the 205,128 housing units needed, 95% or 194,454 have already been bidded out to contractors as of October 30 this year.

Source: Rappler.com

Plunder raps await Yolanda contractor, NHA execs

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 06:46




Published November 5, 2017, 10:00 PM
Floro M. Mercene

The chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development will recommend the filing of plunder charges against a contractor of housing projects for victims of typhoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Samar, including officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA).

A congressional inquiry revealed collusion between the contractor and the lead government agency in the Yolanda housing program.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfred “Albee” Benitez, committee chairman said when Congress resumes session next month, they will recommend the filing of plunder charges against contractor Juanito Tayag of the J.C Tayag Builders, Inc., and several officials of the NHA, whose names he did not reveal.

“J.C Tayag was only a ‘Double A contractor,’ meaning he is entitled to engage in government projects of only up to P200 million worth,” said Benitez.

“But by breaking an P800-million project into smaller ones with each project amounting to less than P200 million each, J.C. Tayag was able to qualify to bid and corner all of them,” Benitez said.

Aggravating matters, Benitez said, was the use of substandard materials for the housing units.

The lawmaker discovered this when an engineer of the contract, Camilo Salazar, during an inspection, told to them the contractor did not meet the specified standard, particularly on the use of the steel bars.

While the specifications called for 16-millimeter reinforcing bars (rebar), rebars measuring 6.53 mm to 11.84 mm were found to have been used.

Although Tayag agreed to an executive session, Benitez revealed the contractor still denied everything.

Tayag was allegedly still hoping to collect the hundreds of millions of pesos for his unfinished projects with the NHA, thus his reluctance to compromise his “contacts” inside the agency.

Before Yolanda, the NHA used to have a budget of about P5 to P6 billion.

But in the case of Yolanda, NHA was flooded with funds of about P60 billion, to fund projects of gargantuan proportions. They were unable to control their greed and failed to hide the extent of corruption,” said the solon.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Another Yolanda storm brewing – and what a howler!

Sun, 10/29/2017 - 17:50



BY MAURO GIA SAMONTE ON OCTOBER 29, 2017

The huge howler that was Yolanda in 2013 does not seem to have ended after all. Four years into its anniversary four days from today, the killer typhoon (death toll more than 6,300, with bodies continuing to be found into 2014) is once more a-forming, its howl now certain to duplicate that which made Yolanda the most destructive on record to have hit humanity ever.

This time around, Yolanda’s winds and storm surges are attuned to a windfall of P800 million, culled from an avalanche of financial and material support from the international humanity for the rehabilitation of victims and their homes in Samar, Leyte, and elsewhere in Western Visayas.

P800 million is reflected in the accounting books of the National Housing Authority (NHA) as the amount of housing units erected by the agency here and there in Samar and Leyte for awarding to those who lost their homes, not to mention their loved ones, in the Great Flood.

This seems good, even laudable, as far as it goes.

Trouble is, there is Negros Occidental Rep. Alfred “Albee” Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development. A no-nonsense lawmaker, whose roots go down to the famed Conrado Benitez of the revered “Seven Wise Men” who drafted the 1935 Philippine Constitution. Cong. Albee, as he is fondly called, began looking into the matter when complaints cropped up from among their early beneficiaries that the housing units were sub-standard and veritably unlivable.

Not content with media accounts on the anomaly, Albee on his own went to Samar and made on-site inspection of the houses. Realizing who Albee was, an informant, claiming to have had a responsible hand in the relocation project, came forward and volunteered the information that those housing units are really of sub-standard quality.

To prove his contention, the informant took an easy time cracking the wall of one such unit, and voila, there appeared in their eyes oh so tiny round bars as steel support for the hollow-blocked wall.

“What’s the size of this round bar?” asked Cong. Albee.

“6.5 mm.”

“What was the specification in the plan?” Cong. Albee again asked.

“16mm.”

Anybody familiar with the construction business would say that you don’t use a 6.5 mm round bar as studs for layering concrete hollow blocks (asintada in the vernacular) to put up a wall. That kind of steel is even smaller in size than the standard one used for girting (anillo in construction lingo) the steel frame of concrete posts which is 8 mm.

Cong. Albee walked inside a few of the houses and experienced a common characteristic. The walls appeared to shake, as from an earthquake aftershock. That characteristic, contended the informant, is common to all the houses recorded in NHA books to be worth P800 million.

Convinced of the informant’s contention, Cong. Albee asked if he was ready to testify on the matter under oath. The informant agreed.

Alas but on the day of the congressional hearing on the anomaly, the informant backed out. And that’s where the issue appeared to come to a rest until Congress went into its current recess.

But, as John Paul Jones would word it, for Cong. Albee, the fight has only just began. He believes he has uncovered a big anomaly in the NHA and he is dead set in curing it for good.

In an interview with select members of the media recently, Cong. Albee disclosed that his committee will recommend the filing of plunder charges against contractor Juanito Tayag of the J.C. Tayag Builders, Inc. and several officials of the NHA. He declined to name names.

Cong. Albee declared that he is so convinced by the evidences he has in his possession of collusion between contractors and NHA that if it came to it, he would in his personal capacity file plunder charges against them.

“J.C. Tayag was only a Double A contractor,” said Cong. Albee. He explained that this meant Tayag is entitled to engage in government projects of only up to P200 million.

“But by breaking up an P800 million project into smaller ones with each amounting to lesser than P200 million each, J.C. Tayag was able to qualify to bid and corner all of them,” said Cong. Albee.

According to the Negros lawmaker, all four chopped-up projects cornered by J. C. Tayag, each amounting to P200 million, are located in one contagious area, so that the contractor cannot claim that those four are different from one another.

Cong. Albee said at one point, Tayag struck up a compromise with the Housing Committee for the latter to make disclosures in executive session in order to clear up the NHA mess.

“However,” the lawmaker said, “Tayag, up to the last minute, still refused to admit guilt.”

He later learned Tayag was still hoping to collect the hundreds of millions of pesos from his unfinished projects with the NHA, thus his reluctance to compromise the situation of his “contacts” inside the agency.

“Apparently, his contacts are still with the NHA,” said Cong. Albee. “I believe collusion between the NHA and private contractors have long been in existence even before the Yolanda housing controversy.”

According to Cong. Albee, NHA used to get only a budget of about P5 billion to P6 billion. At that level, even if there was the possibility that there already was corruption, people failed to notice it as the projects then were not so huge.

“But in the case of Yolanda, NHA was flooded with funds of about P60 billion and projects of gargantuan proportions that they could no longer control and hide the extent of corruption,” said the lawmaker.

At any rate, the Negros Occidental representative needs every support in his effort, undertaken with almost private passion, to get to the bottom of this housing controversy. Another windfall in this genre must be upcoming, what with another avalanche of support the country is currently getting from the international community for the rehabilitation of Marawi.

NHA stands to be a far greener pasture for its herd of contractors to graze on.

Source: Manila Times

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