Cong. Albee News Feed

Subscribe to Cong. Albee News Feed feed
Updated: 2 hours 22 sec ago

‘Fast-track housing for Yolanda victims’

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 17:44



posted September 03, 2017 at 12:01 am by Mel Caspe

TACLOBAN CITY—Rep. Albee Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, has urged the government to fast-track the construction and completion of permanent houses for the victims of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” during the committee’s public hearing in the municipality of Hernani and this city.



Rep. Alfredo ‘Albee’ B. Benitez (fourth from left), chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, and Rep. Ben P. Evardone of the Lone District of Eastern Samar, lead the Public Hearing on House Resolution No. 599 on Friday at the Community Center in Tacloban City. Mel R. Caspe

The committee held a public hearing on House Resolution No. 599, which seeks to investigate the snail-paced implementation of housing relocation and resettlement project for those who were affected by the typhoon in 2012 in the Community Center in Tacloban. The resolution was filed by Rep. Ben Evardone of the Lone District of Eastern Samar.

Benitez said the February 2017 report of the NHA that of the projected 205,128 homes needed, only 48, 950 units were constructed, and more bothersome is that only 13,997 of the units completed are occupied. 

Under construction is 69,768 units, while the rest are either already bid out or yet to be issued a Notice to Proceed by the NHA. The solon said it is the mandate of Congress to oversee where the P7.5-billion funding for the resettlement cluster went.

“It is unfortunate that four years after the devastation of ‘Yolanda,’ we are still talking about the construction and completion of permanent housing instead of support programs on how to help the victims to move on with their lives,” Benitez stressed. “The inability of the government to provide permanent homes to the victims is a prolonging of trauma.”

The public hearing is not to point fingers on the agency, Benitez said, but rather to find solution to provide decent permanent homes to the victims and come up with a policy to allow the government to respond better in the face of calamities.

In another report, about P11.25 billion of government funds meant for rehabilitation projects for areas ravaged by the super typhoon remain untouched as of first half of 2017.

The National Economic and Development Authority said the latest “Yolanda” progress report showed that only P20.94 billion of the P32.19 billion had been disbursed to implementing government agencies.

Of the total funds released, the social services cluster got the highest share of P8.71 billion, followed by resettlement (P6.09 billion), infrastructure (P4.28 billion), and livelihood (P1.86 billion).

“More than three years after Yolanda struck the region, there are still issues and concerns that impede the smooth and fast implementation of programs and projects in Region 8,” Neda Eastern Visayas regional director Bonifacio Uy told PNA Thursday.

The report also identified five major issues in carrying out post-disaster projects, all related to relocation efforts. These are: delay in the construction of permanent housing projects in this city and other typhoon-hit areas; substandard housing units; poor access to water and power in resettlement sites; livelihood assistance to newly-transferred families; and absence of permanent school building near housing sites.

Citing the National Housing Authority, Neda revealed that only 15,422 houses out of the 56,140 target homes for Eastern Visayas have been built.

Among the major setbacks are unavailable lots, land acquisition issues, procurement concerns, and lack of qualified contractors.

Uy said the central government and regional officials have been working closely to complete all ongoing projects within three years.

Last week, key regional officials held a meeting among members of an inter-agency task force for the unified implementation and monitoring of post-”Yolanda” rehabilitation and recovery projects.

The formation of task force is following Administrative Order No. 5 issued on Aug. 8, 2017 by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The task force is chaired by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco with Presidential Assistants for the Visayas Michael Dino and for Special Concerns Wendel Avisado as co-chairs. Avisado is also the Presidential Assistant for “Yolanda” Rehabilitation.

The directive has listed 17 government agencies as members.

“There are some issues that can be better addressed and decided quickly at the highest level. We’re very hopeful that this administrative order will help address the remaining works,” Uy added.

The super typhoon, which struck central Philippines on November 8, 2013, is the deadliest typhoon in the country on record, killing at least 6,300 people. This city is considered as the typhoon’s ground zero.With PNA

Source: Manila Standard

Housing Project para sa Yolanda Victims, maanomalya ayon sa isang mambabatas

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 17:01



September 03, 2017 By: Rhommel Balasbas

Ibinunyag ni Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez na may milyun-milyong pisong iregularidad sa housing projects na ginagawa para sa mga biktima ng Bagyong Yolanda.

Ayon kay Benitez, ang mga itinatayong housing units ay ginamitan ng substandard na construction materials.

Ito anya ang lumalabas sa pagdinig ng House Committee on Housing and Urban Development na hawak ng mambabatas.

Ani Benitez, ang contractors na kinuha ng gobyerno ay kumuha pa ng hindi kwalipikadong sub-contractors para gawin ang ilang housing units.

Nais naman ni Leyte Rep. Vicente S. Veloso na panagutin ang mga sangkot sa proyekto dahil sa hindi pagsunod ng mga ito sa project standards.

Ani Veloso, maaaring maharap sa kasong estafa at paglabag sa anti-graft and corrupt practices act ang mga taong may kinalaman sa housing project.

Source: Radyo Inquirer

House committee uncovers anomalies in shelter project for ‘Yolanda’ victims

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:29




Updated September 3, 2017, 7:34 AM
By Ben R. Rosario

Borongan, Eastern Samar – A senior administration congressman yesterday deplored multi-million peso irregularities in the implementation of the shelter project for victims of super-typhoon “Yolanda,” noting that the housing units were built using substandard construction materials.

Hundreds of government-funded housing units for Yolanda victims will have to be inspected after contractors who won the heavily-financed shelter project have reportedly tapped unqualified sub-contractors to do their job, Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez revealed.

Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said the anomaly was revealed during a public hearing conducted by the house panel here.

“Our people have been victimized twice over.  First, by super-typhoon Yolanda and now by crooked contractors and their cohorts,” lamented Benitez.

Benitez aired strong fears that the same anomalous situation may have also been committed in many other housing and community-building projects for Yolanda victims funded by government.

Substandard materials

During a congressional hearing here, Camilo Salazar, a subcontractor, claimed that substandard construction materials were used to construct houses in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

Benitez disclosed that Salazar said that among the construction materials used were undersized steel bars, cement mix that are cheap and of inferior quality.

It was disclose that roofing materials were also way below the standard.

Salazar admitted that he is a subcontractor tapped by a certain Juanito Tayag to help construct the housing units in Yolanda-stricken areas.

Benitez called on the National Housing Authority to dig deep into the irregularities even as he pointed out that subcontracting is barred under the contract awarded to winning bidders.

“It involves people’s money and the future of Yolanda victims.  We need to get to the bottom of all of these,” the irate lawmaker said.

In reaction, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone vowed to make those involved accountable.

Criminal and civil liability

Meanwhile, Leyte Rep. Vicente S. Veloso said the people involved in the project implementation should face criminal and civil liability for not following the standards and specification.

Veloso said they can be charged with estafa and violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

Veloso expressed dismay that his district, which is adjacent to Tacloban City, did not receive housing assistance.  He said that typhoon victims in Iloilo received more assistance than the typhoon victims in Samar and Leyte.

Benitez said they will continue with their committee investigation in Manila and call for more witnesses and resource persons. (With a report from Nestor L. Abrematea)

Source: Manila Bulletin

Sangkot sa ‘palpak’ na Yolanda housing mananagot

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:22



September 3, 2017 at 12:00:29 am
By Tina Mendoza

Tiniyak ng dalawang komite ng Kamara na may mananagot sa nadiskubreng mga palpak at substandard na pabahay sa mga Yolanda victims matapos umamin mismo ang subcontractor na tinipid ang mga itinayong housing projects.

Kapwa tiniyak nina House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Chairman Albee Benitez at Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone na tumatayong Chairman ng House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermedia­ries na magkakaroon ng malalimang imbestigasyon sa Yolanda housing projects at lahat ng nagpabaya at nagsamantala para sa personal na interes ay kanilang pananagutin sa batas.

Ang pahayag ay ginawa ng dalawang mambabatas matapos lumitaw sa kanilang inisyal na inspeksyon at imbestigasyon sa estado ng housing projects para sa mga biktima ng Typhoon Yolanda na palpak ang mga itina­yong pabahay partikular sa Ba­langina, Eastern Samar.

Tiniyak ng dalawang komite ng Kamara na may mananagot sa nadiskubreng mga palpak at substandard na pabahay sa mga Yolanda victims matapos umamin mismo ang subcontractor na tinipid ang mga itinayong housing projects.

Kapwa tiniyak nina House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Chairman Albee Benitez at Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone na tumatayong Chairman ng House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermedia­ries na magkakaroon ng malalimang imbestigasyon sa Yolanda housing projects at lahat ng nagpabaya at nagsamantala para sa personal na interes ay kanilang pananagutin sa batas.

Ang pahayag ay ginawa ng dalawang mambabatas matapos lumitaw sa kanilang inisyal na inspeksyon at imbestigasyon sa estado ng housing projects para sa mga biktima ng Typhoon Yolanda na palpak ang mga itina­yong pabahay partikular sa Ba­langina, Eastern Samar.

 

Source: Abante

Lawmakers blast subcontracting of ‘Yolanda’ housing in E. Samar

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 19:16



By Roel Amazona
September 2, 2017, 2:43 pm

TACLOBAN CITY -- The subcontracting scheme in the 'Yolanda' housing projects in Eastern Samar turned out to be a major setback in the construction of permanent homes for the victims of the 2013 typhoon.

This was uncovered during a two-day inquiry here by the House of Representatives. The probe ended Friday.

Lawmakers learned that projects have been delayed due to hiring of subcontractors, which also resulted in substandard projects.

Camilo Salazar from Balangiga, Eastern Samar said that he is a third-party contractor of JC Tayag Builder, the winning contractor of National Housing Authority (NHA) projects for Yolanda housing units in his home province.

He told lawmakers in a public inquiry on Friday that 40 housing units were contracted to him by a certain Sally Almazan, a sub-contractor of JC Tayag Builder based in Montalban, Rizal. The NHA is building 480 units in Cansumangkay village in Balangiga town.

Salazar also claimed that some of the construction materials used in the housing units were sub-standard.

He revealed the PHP300, 000 uncollected payment from the subcontractor, but admitted he has no documents to prove that he sub-contracted housing projects of JC Tayag Builders.

NHA officials, who attended the public inquiry, said that subcontracting is not allowed by the agency, but if it is needed, the contractor must first seek permission from the agency.

In the case of 'Yolanda' housing projects, NHA never issued a single sub-contracting permit.

Housing and Urban Development Committee Chair Rep. Alfred Benitez said that the revelation of Salazar will be used by his committee in the succeeding inquiries for 'Yolanda' housing projects.

Benitez also called for other sub-contractors of NHA housing projects to come out and provide the committee information so that they can help improve and rectify the process of housing project implementation.

“We cannot continue these projects if such problems and issues are not addressed first. There is already a revelation here when this sub-contractor share the anomalies about the on-going housing projects. What we are going to do when we come back is to call the contractors so that we can hear their side,” Benitez said.

“If these will be proven, like the usage of sub-standard material or that the housing projects are substandard, then we will be filing appropriate charges to concern people,” Benitez added.

Before the public inquiry, the lawmakers inspected 'Yolanda' housing projects in Eastern Samar and Tacloban. Those who joined the inspection were Benitez, Reps. Deogracias Victor Savellano of Ilocos Sur, Tom Villarin of Akbayan, Gary Alejano of Magdalo and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela.

The committee also found out from workers that they had stopped working because of non-payment of their salaries in the past two months.

Benitez said the committee wants the NHA to hasten the construction of the housing projects and implement it correctly.

Other issues raised by beneficiaries during the inquiry include absence of water and electricity, and small houses for big families.

In Eastern Samar, housing project demand under the NHA is 7,573 but only about 454 units have been completed with only 289 occupied nearly four years after the super typhoon struck.

The committee noticed that the bidding of housing projects was held at the NHA main office in Manila.

Alejano said that these schemes also contribute in the slow pace of project implementation because only big contractors have the capacity to join biddings in Manila while local qualified contractors are not given the chance to join the competitive bidding.

The lawmakers held dialogues in several places with the final stop at the office of Leyte Rep. Yedda Romualdez.

Committee members expect that more people will come out in future inquiries to help resolve housing concerns. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

Pabahay sa mga biktima ng Yolanda, substandard – Kamara, tiniyak na may dapat na managot dito

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 19:04



By RMN News Nationwide: The Sound Of The Nation
Sep. 2, 2017 at 9:47am

Manila, Philippines -Tiniyak ng House Committee on Housing and Urban Development na papanagutin ang mga nasa likod ng substandard na pabahay sa mga biktima noon ng super typhoon Yolanda.

Sa imbestigasyon ng komite, humarap ang subcontractor whistleblower na si Engr. Camilo Salazar at ibinulgar nito na tinipid ang mga gamit sa paggawa ng bahay ng mga Yolanda victims sa Balanginga, Eastern Samar.

Sinabi ni Salazar na gumamit ng bakal na 8 mm sa pagtatayo ng bahay sa halip na ang gamitin ay ang standard size na 10 mm na bakal.

Nangangamba si Committee Chairman Albee Benitez na ganito rin ang lagay ng pabahay sa ibang mga lalawigan na tinamaan ng kalamidad sa Eastern at Central Visayas noong 2013.

Giit nito, ito ay pera ng taumbayan kaya nararapat lamang na may maparusahan sa substandard housing.

Nangako ang kongresista na pagkatapos ng budget hearing ng Kamara ay iraratsada ang pagdinig upang mapanagot ang mga may sala.

Source: RMN News Nationwide

Totohanang pabahay

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 15:34




September 1, 2017
Written by Allan Encarnacion

Hala bira!

HABANG lumilipas ang panahon, lumulubha ang problema ng bansa sa kakulangan ng pabahay.

Ang datos noong dalawang taon ang nakakaraan, nasa 5 milyon lamang ang housing backlogs pero ngayon, ang updated numbers ay nasa 6.8 million na.

Ibig sabihin, kung hindi talaga haharapin ng estado ang problema ng squatting, mas tataas pa ang bilang nito sa mga susunod na taon.

Sa ilalim ng Pangulong Duterte na matindi ang political will, naniniwala tayo na sakto at napapanahon ang panawagan ni House committee on housing and urban development chairman, Negros Occidental Congressman Albee Benitez na tayuan na lamang ng pabahay ang nakatiwangwang na 3,419 ektarya ng government lots sa Metro Manila.

Angkop ang ganitong panawagan, lalo na’t ikinukunsidera ng Duterte administration ang pagbuo ng Department of Human Settlement para tugunan ang paglago ng squatters colony.

Pasintabi lang po, sa totoo lang, kapag hindi natin na-address ang squatting problem ng bansa, mahihirapan tayong lutasin ang matinding krimen, ang pagkalat ng mga batang hamog, ang pagdami ng mga basura at iba pang social menace.

Hindi natin inilalahat subalit masakit man tanggapin, ang maraming problema sa kalsada ay nagmumula sa mga batang walang maayos na tahanan.
    
Iyong mga batang pagala-gala ay karaniwang nagiging magnanakaw, sumisinghot ng rugby, ginagamit na akyat-bahay, mga bukas-kotse at minsan ay nagiging delivery boy pa ng droga.
    
Ang sinasabi ni Congressman Benitez na paglulunsad ng massive as is, where is housing scheme sa pagsasaayos ng  squatters ang nakikita nating ultimate solution sa maraming sakit ng ulo ng estado.
    
Hindi pa nagkaroon ng totohanang socialized housing program ang estado matapos ang pagkabuwag ng Ministry of Human Settlement ng Marcos government na nakapagtayo ng mga Bliss Housings, mga Teachers’ Village, Soldiers Hills, Veterans Village at iba pang katulad nito.
    
Lahat ng nakaraang gobyerno ay puro lip service lang ginawa kaya humantong sa sukdulan ang problema natin sa pabahay.
    
Tiyansa na rin ng Duterte administrasyon na maisulong ang makatotohanang pabahay program dahil agresibo si Congressman Benitez na tularan ang kanyang yumaong ama na si Jolly Benitez na Deputy Minister ng Human Settlement noong Marcos administration.

Ang matandang Benitez ang naging instrumental sa epektibong housing program ng Marcos government at ito ang nakikita natin na magiging pattern ni Congressman Albee sa kanyang plano sa  informal settlers.
    
Sa pagsusulong ng tunay na pabahay, dapat ay tutukan din ng estado ang sindikato ng squatters na gumagamit sa mga mahihirap para hindi magtagumpay ang plano.
    
Sila iyong paulit-ulit na beneficiaries ng housing projects pero ipinagbibili ang rights para muling mag-squat sa mga bangketa at sa ilalim ng tulay kaya hindi natatapos ang problema sa pabahay.

Ledac green lights shift to federal system as TWGs formed to draft new Charter

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 15:11




By Jovee Marie de la Cruz - AUGUST 30, 2017

Legislative and Executive officials have agreed to start the process of changing the form of government to federal system from a unitary one through a constitutional overhaul.

In a news conference, Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez said the shift to federal system was discussed during the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting on Tuesday.

“[During the Ledac meeting, we agreed that] we must start to tackle federalism now. We will meet with the Senate leadership to decide when we could convene as a constituent assembly [Con-ass]. Perhaps [we would convene as a constituent assembly] early next year, but we have already begun with the committee hearings [in the lower chamber],” Alvarez said.

Last week the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments has created four technical working groups (TWGs), composed of its members, which will draft the Philippine Federal Constitution.

Each of the four groups will handle specific areas to be covered in the drafting of the new Federal Constitution.

TWG 1, chaired by Rep. Corazon N. Nuñez-Malanyaon of the First  District of  Negros Oriental, will handle the provisions on the Executive-Legislative (Articles VI and VII); New article on Federal and Regional Powers, Numbers of States; and Local Government and Taxation/Allocation of Resources (Article X).

TWG 2, chaired by Deputy Speaker Fredenil H. Castro) will draft the provisions on the Judiciary (Article VIII); Amendments or Revisions (Article XVII); Suffrage (Article V), Citizenship (Article IV); and Bill of Rights (Article III).

TWG 3, chaired by Rep. Alfredo Benitez of the Third District, of Negros Occidental, will prepare the Preamble; National Territory (Article I); Declaration of Principles and State Policies (Article II); General Provisions (Article XVI); and Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII).

Last, TWG 4 chaired by Rep. Vicente SE. Veloso of the Third  District of Leyte, will handle Social Justice, Labor and Others (Article XIII); Education, Science and Others (Article XIV); National Economy and Patrimony (Article XII); New article on the Bill of Duties; Accountability of Public Officials (Article XI); and Family (Article XV).

Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte Jr. of the Second District of Camarines Sur said the creation of TWGs  will hasten the  shift to a federal system of government.

The TWG in charge of the provisions on the National Economy and Patrimony, he added, should strongly consider proposals to relax the restrictions on foreign ownership so the country could regain its competitive edge among other Asian economies in attracting long-term foreign direct investments (FDI) that would create more jobs, especially in the countryside.

“We welcome this inspired move by the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments to create TWGs that would work on drafting a proposed federal constitution. This will certainly help speed up the process of shifting to federalism and enable us to scrutinize recommendations in an organized fashion,” Villafuerte said.

Jonathan Malaya, executive director of the PDP Federalism Institute, turned over to the lower chamber the draft “Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines”, for consideration by the various TWGs created by the House panel.

The draft Federal Charter was prepared by PDP Federalism Committee Group, which is composed of individuals from various sectors, including academe, civil society and the legal profession.

The TWG members agreed to finish their work by November this year and submit the draft new Federal Constitution to the committee for final discussion and approval.

They also agreed to submit the final draft of the Philippine Federal Constitution to the House committee on rules, chaired by Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas of the First District of Ilocos Norte, by December this year.

Deputy Minority Leader Party-list Rep. Eugene Michael B. de Vera of Arts and Business Science Professionals and Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. of Pampanga have also moved  to change the 1987 Constitution through the filing of his Resolution of Both Houses 8, which seeks to constitute the Senate and the House of Representatives into a constituent assembly to propose revisions to the 1987 Constitution by adopting a federal form of government and for other purposes.

Meanwhile, Philippine Constitution Association President Martin Romualdez said the proposal to shift the presidential-unitary form of government to a parliamentary-federal system by convening Congress into a Con-ass would help change the character of the country’s politics to create fertile ground for true reforms.

 

Source: Business Mirror

Blessing of the Video Board at E. B. Magalona

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 14:27



on Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Jun de los Reyes photo



E. B. MAGALONA VIDEO BOARD. The blessing of the Video Board at E. B. Magalona Municipal Public Plaza is officiated by Rev. Fr. Ernesto P. Salvador, Parish Priest of St. Joseph the Worker. Attending are Congressman Albee Benitez, EBM Mayor Marvin M. Malacon, Vice-Governor Bong Lacson, Rep. Stephen Paduano, Himamaylan Mayor Agustin Bascon, SBMs Joey H. Pugales, Eric D. Matulac, Gelita S. Parcon, Arnulfo Y. Parcon, Isidro S. Gomed Jr., Jovie M. Madayag, Reyland V. Gamboa Sr., Anthony Marlon J. Magalona and ABC President Arthur Paez.*(Jun de los Reyes / NDB photo )

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

Cong. Albee Benitez: Distribution of NOCHP health cards in EB Magalona

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 10:27



on Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Gilbert Bayoran photos



Distribution of NOCHP health cards, a project of the provincial government of Negros Occidental in tandem with Rep Alfredo Benitez, in EB Magalona. Gilbert Bayoran photos

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Housing superbody to bridge homes gap

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 18:26




By Cai Ordinario - AUGUST 29, 2017

The creation of a Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) will give Filipinos a better chance of fulfilling their dream of owning a home, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

The creation of the DHUD is now in the works, with the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development eyeing to approve today the enabling measure, which would ensure the availability and affordability of decent housing and basic services in the country.

Neda Undersecretary for Planning and Policy Rosemarie G. Edillon told the BusinessMirror that the new housing agency could fast-track the attainment of the life Filipinos want, particularly in terms of owning a home. Based on the AmBisyon Natin 2040, some 61 percent of respondents indicated owning a medium-sized home as part of their definition of living a simple and comfortable life.

“To the extent that it will facilitate the process of home ownership, then it will enable more Filipinos to achieve part of their ambisyon,” Edillon said.

However, Edillon noted that the creation of a DHUD must be done in accordance with the principle of rightsizing the bureaucracy, which means some of the existing six Key Shelter Agencies (KSAs) could potentially be merged or removed to improve service delivery.  “It will be done within the principle of rightsizing the government. In the short term, the problem is with respect to transition, unifying administration systems, etc.”

Budget Secretary Benjamin E.  Diokno said over the weekend that the proposal to create the DHUD is still in its early stages, and even if the House of Representatives  approves it, a Senate version of the bill has to be passed for it to become a law.

Diokno said, however, in terms of the budget for the housing sector, he still would not be able to tell how much it will be and how the reorganization will impact employees.

Former Philippine Economic Society President Alvin Ang said the main economic benefit of creating a separate department of housing is the coordination of the KSAs.

Ateneo de Manila University School of Social Sciences Fernando T. Aldaba added that, while the housing sector by itself has “great multiplier effects”, there is still no assurance how the DHUD will impact the housing backlog.

“The housing sector has great multiplier effects, but we still need to see if the new department will be able to energize the sector, such that the housing backlog and new demand will be met,” Aldaba said.

The issues surrounding the passage of the DHUD was among the reasons the House Committee on Housing deferred the proposal to reorganize the Social Housing Finance Corp. and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp.

There are proposed laws at the House of Representatives that aim to strengthen both agencies and make them more responsive to the housing finance needs of Filipinos.

But in light of the proposed DHUD, House Committee Chairman Rep.  Alfredo Benitez said it would be best to discuss the reorganization of the two agencies in the context of the DHUD.

“We have to think about it well in the context of the pending creation of the Department of Housing, how will they harmonize functions with the Department. I feel that there are redundancies in the functions of the shelter agencies, sometimes they even overlap,” Benitez told the BusinessMirror.

Based on the AmBisyon Natin 2040, most respondents said they choose to live in houses with large lots in cities.

Some 73 percent said they wanted to live in a small house with a big lot, while 14 percent chose to live in big houses with small lots.

Around 30 percent of respondents chose to live in big cities, like Manila, and another 30 percent chose to live in town centers in the province. Only 29 percent preferred to live in a small city in the province.

The Neda said the AmBisyon Natin 2040 data were obtained from responses in 42 focus group discussions (FGDs) and 10,000 survey-respondents nationwide.

The FGDs were conducted mainly among marginalized groups, including indigenous peoples while the survey was conducted across the ABCDE income groups.

Benitez said his committee will discuss and then approve the consolidated bill creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Developmenton on Tuesday.

The creation of a department of housing, together with the creation of a Department of Culture and Philippine Space Agency, is included to the agenda of the second Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council meeting also on Tuesday.

Benitez said the new housing department will be created through the consolidation of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council  and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

“The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Act should focus on the needs of an individual rather than roof on his head, and ensure the proper urbanization of communities that will promote affordable and decent housing for every Filipino,” Benitez added.

According to Benitez, the department shall act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing, human settlement and urban development.

He added that the agency shall be the sole and main planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination and performance-monitoring entity for all housing, human settlement and urban-development concerns, primarily focusing on the access to and the affordability of basic human needs.

With Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz

Source: Business Mirror

Negros as one federal state included in draft Charter

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 17:00




Tuesday, August 29, 2017
By MARCHEL P. ESPINA

THE House of Representatives is now working on the draft amending the Constitution to make way for the federal form of government strongly pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte.


Negros Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez confirmed to SunStar Bacolod Monday, August 28, that the draft will include assigning Negros Island as one federal state, which is his proposal.

Benitez is one of the chairmen of the four technical working groups (TWGs) formed last week by the House committee on constitutional amendments to expedite the draft of the new charter.

He said they are eyeing to finish the draft by end of the year, either by November or December.

“We are working on it now,” the Negrense lawmaker said.

Benitez chairs the third technical working group, which will draft the preamble, national territory (Article I), declaration of principles and state policies (Article II), general provisions (Article XVI), and transitory provisions (Article XVIII).

The first TWG is headed by Davao Oriental First District Representative Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon. The group will prepare the provisions on the executive and legislative (Articles VI and VII), the new article on federal and regional powers, numbers of states, and the local government and taxation/allocation of resources (Article X).

TWG 2 will draft the provisions on the bill of rights (Article III), citizenship (Article IV), suffrage (Article V), judiciary (Article VIII), and the amendments or revisions (Article XVII). It is chaired by Capiz Second District Representative Fredenil Castro.

The fourth TWG, led by Leyte Third District Representative Vicente Veloso, will work on the national economy and patrimony (Article XII), social justice, labor and others (Article XIII), education, science and others (Article XIV), new article on the bill of duties, accountability of public officials (Article XI), and family (Article XV).

Duterte had been pushing for federalism to ensure a more equal distribution of resources to the provinces.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said he is hoping that the two Negros provinces will belong to the same state when the country shifts to federalism, as he remained optimistic even with the dissolution of Negros Island Region (NIR).

Marañon, who is also supporting the federal form of government, urged Negrenses to move forward as he believes that God has prepared something that is “higher than NIR.”

He noted that there are 14 states being eyed – six in Luzon, and four each in Visayas and Mindanao, with Negros Island as one federal state.

He also urged Negrenses to work together to make Negros as one state.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

House panel okays redistribution of government housing units

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 19:52




By Jovee Marie de la Cruz - AUGUST 28, 2017

After the failed implementation of one of the biggest housing programs of the government, the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development has authorized the redistribution of thousands of housing units intended for soldiers and policemen.

This, after the housing committee has endorsed for plenary approval a measure authorizing the National Housing Authority (NHA) to distribute the unoccupied and unawarded government housing units to other qualified beneficiaries.

Rep. Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental, the panel chairman, said House Joint Resolution 11 was unanimously approved last week by members of his committee. The Senate version of the measure is still pending for approval.

According to Benitez, the resolution seeks to give to other qualified beneficiaries the unawarded housing units in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) housing projects that are not yet occupied and whose ownership and possession is surrendered by their respective awardees.

The lawmaker said housing units, whose respective awards were canceled by reason of default in the payment of amortization or for any violation of the terms and conditions of the individual loan agreement, were also included.

Under the resolution, the NHA may instead identify alternative beneficiaries and beneficiary-specific sites, such as in the case of public-school teachers living within the area; employees in the local government concerned where the housing units are constructed; barangay employees and functionaries and informal settlers who could all benefit from the unoccupied housing units.

Some of the units of this housing program in Pandi and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, have already been occupied by the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

Administrative Order 9, Series of 2011, directed the NHA to provide permanent housing sites for qualified low-salaried members of the AFP. The project was expanded to include employees of BFP, BJMP and BuCor in 2012.

However, Benitez said years after implementing the program, several housing units constructed under the AFP/PNP housing project are still unoccupied, as verified by the Commission on Audit.

“The reported occupancy rate of the completed housing units for the program is at a mere 8.09 percent,” he said.  Benitez said the Department of Budget and Management has already released a total of P20.7 billion—through the General Appropriations Act—for the implementation of the housing program with a target of 74,195 units as of March 31.

Out of a target 74,195 housing units as of March 31, 62,308 units were fully completed. Of the completed units, 52,892 were already awarded but only 8,240 units are occupied.

The NHA board will have to convene within 60 days from the approval of the resolution for the purpose of formulating the necessary implementing rules and regulations.

Benitez, citing the COA, said the nonuse by the intended beneficiaries of the housing units under the AFP/PNP housing project resulted to the loss of revenues on the part of the government, unnecessary exposure of the units to unfavorable weather condition and nonattainment of the objectives of the program.

Also, he said the low occupancy rate of the completed housing units by their intended beneficiaries is a “clear indication of a failed program in the face of the need for government to provide housing to a larger portion of its populace, an undeniably undesirable situation that needs remedial legislation”.

Source: Business Mirror

House eyes approval of new PH federal constitution by November

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 16:55




Updated August 28, 2017, 10:23 AM
By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza

The four technical working groups (TWGs) of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments are eyeing the approval of the draft new Philippine Federal Constitution by November.

Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, committee chairman, said the TWG members agreed to finish their work by November this year and submit the draft new Federal Constitution to the committee for final discussion and approval.

“The committee deemed it prudent to come up with a draft Philippine Federal Constitution to guide the House members when they deliberate on proposals to shift from unitary to federal system,” he said.

Last week, the Mercado panel created four TWGs that would expedite the deliberations and drafting of the new Charter.

“Discussions on federalism should focus on providing solutions to the country’s economic problems, especially poverty, the peace and order situation, and the fight against illegal drugs,” Mercado said.

He said the TWG members agreed that the final draft of the Philippine Federal Constitution will be submitted to the House Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep.  Rodolfo Fariñas by December this year.

Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep.  Fredenil Castro, who heads one of the TWGs, vowed that “they will work closely with the Constitutional Commission that President Rodrigo Duterte plans to establish in order to avoid duplication of efforts.”

TWG 1 is chaired by Negros Oriental Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon. They will handle the provisions on the Executive-Legislative (Articles VI and VII); New article on Federal and Regional Powers, Numbers of States; and Local Government and Taxation/Allocation of Resources (Article X).

Headed by Castro, TWG 2 will draft the provisions on the Judiciary (Article VIII); Amendments or Revisions (Article XVII); Suffrage (Article V), Citizenship (Article IV); and Bill of Rights (Article III).

TWG 3 is chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez and is expected to prepare the Preamble; National Territory (Article I); Declaration of Principles and State Policies (Article II); General Provisions (Article XVI); and Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII).

TWG 4, led by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, will handle Social Justice, Labor and Others (Article XIII); Education, Science and Others (Article XIV); National Economy and Patrimony (Article XII); New article on the Bill of Duties; Accountability of Public Officials (Article XI); and Family (Article XV).

Source: Manila Bulletin

Duterte urged to prioritize mass housing

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 13:08



By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  A senior administration lawmaker has urged President Duterte to issue an executive order allowing the utilization of idle government lands for purposes of establishing on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects for the poor.

“An order from the Palace or a law authorizing the use of idle government lands in Metro Manila to put up in-city housing is a key to address the increasing housing backlog in the capital,” Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez said.

Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development, said the number of homeless Filipinos is expected to reach 6.6 million by 2022 – when Duterte finishes his term – from the current housing backlog of two million. 

We need affordable, resilient, in-city housing to ensure that informal settler families are provided adequate housing without being economically displaced,” Benitez said.

He has repeatedly stated that there is still hope in providing homes for the homeless, since the government can convert idle lands, like some 3,419 hectares in Metro Manila — into commercial hubs, where the poor can be employed and avail themselves of housing units in the process.

Benitez also disclosed that 1,234 hectares of government-owned lands are occupied by informal-settler families (ISFs) while 2,185 hectares of public lands are idle and ready for housing programs.

The committee had endorsed for plenary approval a measure establishing a local government resettlement program that will implement an on-site, in-city or near-city strategy for ISFs, who now reportedly occupy even private lands covering more than 2,000 hectares.

Benitez said he is readying a bill mandating the government to apportion state-owned lands for housing programs.

Another administration lawmaker, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, expressed support for the on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects for the poor that are already being implemented in his district.

“In the second district, many informal settlers in some barangays have been benefitting from this program. The government-owned land in many barangays is being awarded to my poor constituents where they live,” he said, enumerating Commonwealth, Batasan, Holy Spirit and Payatas as examples.

“The on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects are the most effective way to provide decent housing and at the same time give dignity to the settlers,” Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said.

Benitez, son of the late Conrado Benitez who was housing czar during the Marcos era, is also pushing for the creation of a Department of Human Settlement.

“We need a Department of Human Settlement that will supervise and manage government lands. In turn, the agency will just allocate the land for different agencies for government structure and housing programs,” he said.

“If we say Department of Human Settlement, it’s not just for housing, it will also include urban planning that has to be strengthened.”

At present, two measures are pending in the housing and urban development committee instituting a national comprehensive framework on resilient housing and human settlements.

Source: Philippine Star

Economic Highway Extension in Northern Negros Occidental has began in Victorias City

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 09:10



on Monday, August 28, 2017
Gilbert Bayoran photo



ONGOING. The construction of an economic highway extension in northern Negros Occidental has began in Victorias City. ©GPB photo

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Economic highway gets P600M: solon

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 09:41



on Saturday, August 26, 2017
BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

EB MAGALONA – The Bacolod Negros economic highway, which has been extended from Bacolod City to Victorias City, already has a budget of P600 million for its first phase of implementation by the Department of Public Works and Highway, Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), said yesterday.

Benitez said he was told by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar that he may increase the P600 million budget, which is already included the 2018 General Appropriations Act.

b With the construction of the extended economic highway now started in Victorias City, Benitez said he also intends to further expand it to the 1st and 2nd districts.

It will be a four-lane economic highway, he added.

From Brgy. Sum-ag, Bacolod City, it will take 45 minutes to travel to Victorias City, Benitez, who also led the blessing of the video board at the EB Magalona public plaza, also said.

The construction of the first phase economic highway in Victorias City is now ongoing. It is targeted completing in February next year. The contract cost is P144.2 million, with Alfie’s Construction as the contractor.

The airport road from Bacolod City to Silay City is now also being expanded into four lanes, with foot walks along its two sides.

The civil work on the construction of the 21.8-kilometer economic highway in Brgy. Sum-ag, Bacolod City, is also ongoing.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia,who initiated the economic highway project when he was congressman, had said it is the biggest single infrastructure project for Bacolod City, that he expects to ease traffic and open new growth areas in the city.*

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Politics heating up in Neg. Occ.

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 09:34



on Saturday, August 26, 2017
BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Political realignments have started to shape up in Negros Occidental, more than a year before the 2019 elections.

Among the local candidates eyeing higher positions, are Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Himamaylan City Mayor Ernesto Agustin “Tinto” Bascon, who joined Rep. Alfredo Benitez, in an activity in EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, yesterday.



Rep Alfredo Benitez and Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Rep Alfredo Benitez(l-r, seated) with Himamaylan City Mayor Ernesto Agustin Bascon and Mayor Marvin Malacon in EB Magalona (l-r, standing).* Gilbert Bayoran photo

Lacson, who admitted that he is open for the position of governor of Negros Occidental in the next election, said yesterday that every Love-Negros member will be consulted.

Lacson admitted that they are now taking the pulse of the people, especially the mayors and vice mayors, not only in the local but also in the national scene, informing them that Benitez is considering a Senate position, with no final decision yet.

But he stressed that the decision will be known in October next year. As for the name of Rep. Mercedes Alvarez being floated as his vice-gubernatorial candidate, Lacson said, “That is an option”, considering that she is now on her last term as congresswoman of the 6th district of Negros Occidental.
But the decision will be made by Alvarez, he added.

Lacson said Love Negros remains open to talks with the United Negros Alliance, which he called a “consensus” of the group. “I guess it will be an ideal situation if we could bring it backto the 2001 alliance”, he said.

But there is no scheduled date yet for a meeting, although there are feelers being sent, Lacson said.

Benitez, of the Love-Negros group, also said there is a possible meeting with UNegA.

In his recent talks with Governor Alfredo Marañon, UNegA chairman, he said they are organizing the mass oathtaking of members in Negros Occidental of the PDP-Laban, to which he and the governor are affiliated.

Earlier, Marañon said that he will support Benitez if he runs either for senator or governor of Negros Occidental.

Asked what are the chances of his decision to run for senator, Benitez said it will depend on the people. “They will be the ones who will dictate what position I will be running for”, he said.

EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon,a PDP-Laban member, said he will remain with Benitez. Malaco nwas a nUNegA member,when he ran and won as mayor of EB Magalona in the last election.

Himamaylan City Mayor Bascon admitted yesterday that he was endorsed by Benitez and Love-Negros for congressman of the 5th district of Negros Occidental.

But Bascon said he has yet to decide.

“If God wants to me to serve the people of Himamaylan and the 5th district, only God knows. I will only say yes when the time comes,” he added.

Asked for his endorsement of Bascon, Benitez said “It is not an individual or personal choice. As a matter of policy, it should always be collective. I will leave it up to the vice governor (Lacson) to make that decision”.

Rep. Stephen Paduano (ABang Lingkod Partylists), meanwhile, is also reportedly eyeing another elected position, but he remained mum about it.

He endorsed Lacson for governor and Benitez for senator in EB Magalona yesterday* GPB

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Albee targets 75T families for NOCHP

Sat, 08/26/2017 - 13:35



on Friday, August 25, 2017
BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

EB MAGALONA -Rep. Alfredo Benitez said yesterday that he is planning to increase the beneficiaries of the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, to 75,000 families.



Mayor Marvin Malacon. Vice Gov Eugenio Jose Lacson. Abang Lingkod Rep.Stephen Paduano and Himamaylan City Mayor Ernesto Agustin Bascon, distribute NOCHP cards to beneficiaries in EB Magalona.* Gilbert Bayoran photo

There are now 59,714 families enrolled in the health care program of the provincial government of Negros Occidental, being implemented in tandem with Benitez in the 3rd district, NOCHP records, as of July this year show.

“We are targeting 75,000 out of 93,000 families in the district to be covered by NOCHP,including the senior citizens,” Benitez, who led the distribution of health care cards to more beneficiaries at the Wilkinson Social Court in EB Magalona, said yesterday.

More than 7,000 families in 23 barangays of EB Magalona are beneficiaries of NOCHP.

NOCHP is the first program that offers to handle the whole amount you need in hospitalization. He recalled that before those in need of medical assistance received only a small amount to cover their hospital expenses.

Mayor Marvin Malacon, who assisted Benitez, Rep. Stephen Paduano, Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Himamaylan City Mayor Ernesto Agustin Bascon and NOCHP head Ma. Mina Pellejo in the distribution of health cards, said he is thankful to Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Benitez forthe program, as this will be a big help to Saraviahanons.

Malacon said they are now processing the enrollment of 2,500 senior citizens of the town in the NOCHP program, as he wants to double the number.

NOCHP records show that 83,815 patients in the 3rd district availed the program from September 2010 to July this year.

The 3rd district remains on top of the list of NOCHP with the most number of enrolled families, compared to five other districts in Negros Occidental, excluding the lone district of Bacolod.

Aside from EB Magalona, there are also 18,608 families enrolled in the NOCHP program in Silay City, Victorias City – 12,580, Murcia – 10,892, Talisay City- 9,548.

Malacon also said Benitez allocated P2. 5 million burial assistance to EB Magalona, on top of P1 million earmarked by Paduano.*



Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Draft of federal constitution underway at House of Representatives

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 16:50



By CNN Philippines Staff
Updated 08:08 AM PHT Thu, August 24, 2017

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — President Rodrigo Duterte's promise — shifting to a federal form of government — is slowly taking shape as the House of Representatives created groups to draft a federal Constitution.

The House of Representatives Committee on Constitutional Amendments has created four technical working groups (TWGs) to draft the new Constitution, a statement from the committee on Wednesday said.

The working groups aim to finish the draft Constitution by November 2017 and submit it to the House committee for discussion and approval, it added. 

Lawmakers also agreed to submit the final draft of the Philippine Federal Constitution to the House Committee on Rules, chaired by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte's 1st District, by December 2017.

Under federalism, certain state powers are divided between a central authority and local governments. Local governments exercise political, fiscal, and lawmaking autonomy in their jurisdictions, while the central government is in charge of the military, as well as overarching state laws.

Southern Leyte Lone District Representative Roger Mercado said the draft Constitution will guide the lawmakers once they deliberate on proposals to shift from a unitary to a federal system.

Discussions on federalism should "focus on providing solutions to the country's economic problems, especially poverty, the peace and order situation, and the fight against illegal drugs," Mercado added.

The first technical working group will handle the provisions on the Executive and Legislative (Articles VI and VII), the new article on Federal and Regional Powers, Numbers of States; and the Local Government and Taxation/Allocation of Resources (Article X). It is chaired by Negros Oriental 1st District Representative Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon

The second TWG  will draft the provisions on the Bill of Rights (Article III), Citizenship (Article IV), Suffrage (Article V), Judiciary (Article VIII), and the Amendments or Revisions (Article XVII). Capiz 2nd District Representative Fredenil Castro will head this group.

The third TWG will draft the Preamble, National Territory (Article I), Declaration of Principles and State Policies (Article II), General Provisions (Article XVI), and Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII). It is chaired by Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Alfredo Benitez.

The fourth working group will draft the National Economy and Patrimony (Article XII), Social Justice, Labor and Others (Article XIII), Education, Science and Others (Article XIV), new article on the Bill of Duties; Accountability of Public Officials (Article XI), and Family (Article XV).  Leyte 3rd District Representative Vicente Veloso heads this committee.

The technical working groups were urged to consult relevant government agencies in the creation of the draft and to work with the Constitutional Commission that President Duterte will create to "avoid duplication of efforts."

When the House resumed its second regular session on July 24, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the shift to a federal government is one of priorities on its legislative agenda.

However, 1987 Constitutional Commissioners oppose the proposed shift, saying the charter is not the problem, but rather the failure of government to fully implement it.


Source: CNN Philippines

Pages