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Unega, Love Negros merger still likely

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:48



By Carla P. Gomez on Thursday, June 15, 2017

A merger between the United Negros Alliance and Love Negros is still possible with Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. having said that he will support the senatorial or gubernatorial bid of Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) in the 2019 polls, Board Member Salvador Escalante, Unega secretary general, said yesterday.

He said Marañon has not made any commitment should Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson of Love Negros decide to run for governor of Negros Occidental, but the vice governor has been supportive of the programs of the governor, so anything is possible.

But it is too early to talk about politics yet, anything can happen, Escalante added.

Asked if he would run for vice governor in 2019, Escalante said that, aside from him, Unega has a lot of material from city mayors to board members who are all qualified.

On the return of Eduardo Cojuangco as chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Escalante said Unega remains to a provincial party.

Cojuangco has never left politics in Negros Occidental, evennon- elected officials go to him for his blessings and wisdom, Escalante said.

He continues to be a force to reckon with in Negros, Escalante added.*CPG

Active Return of Danding to Politics Closely Watched

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:45



by Eugene Adiong on Thu, 06/15/2017

Is the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in Negros Occidental gearing up for a revitalized fight in the 2019 elections?

This seems to be the case after Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson confirmed that his party is in “a recruitment phase” right now in the province.

“To my understanding, yes,” Lacson said.

This developed after reports came out that former ambassador and business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. has returned as the chairman of one of the biggest political parties in the country.

Cojuangco reportedly lied-low from heading NPC over health issues.

For the vice governor, “it only means that Ambassador Cojuangco will take an active role in NPC after the hiatus.”

“What happens in Negros really depends on its leaders, be that in the public or private sector,” Lacson pointed out.

Pressed if the return of Cojuangco at the helm of the party will revitalize the NPC in the province, he said “it will depend how successful the recruitment will be.”

‘DOES NOT MATTER’. For its rival, the return of Cojuangco “does not matter.”

Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Salvador Escalante, secretary general of the United Negros Alliance (UNegA) said that despite reports that the tycoon has laid-low, many politicians in the province still go to him “for support, blessing and wisdom.”

“For UNegA as a provincial party, his return has no effect,” Escalante said.

He said that “Ambassador Cojuangco has never left politics in Negros. He is still a force to reckon with.”

He also said that “as far as politics is concerned, our party has not talked about it yet.”

“Everything is still liquid. Everything can still happen. Maybe elections will not even push through,” he added.

Considering that Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. is on his last term, “nothing is definite yet as to who will replace him. But we have many materials to choose from.”

“With the statement of the Governor that he may support Rep. Alfredo Benitez (3rd District) if he may decide to run as senator or even governor, to come out with a standard bearer for governor is immaterial,” Escalante said.

“We don’t have to merge,” he said, “if Cong. Albee will run for governor we can have the vice governor.”

As to Lacson running for governor, “the Governor has no commitment yet to that,” Escalante said.* (Eugene Y. Adiong)

 

 

Murcia hosts Albee Cup games

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 09:50



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Murcia played host to the four other teams that are seeing action in the Albee Cup Inter-LGU Sportsfest during the weekend at the town’s public plaza covered court and gym.



Murcia and Talisay women’s volleyball teams.*

In basketball, Victorias beat their host in the 40 above category but yielded to Talisay in their next match-up. Murcia bounced back in the 39 below category at the expense of EB Magalona.

Talisay remained on the lead with another win in the 39 below basketball against the Saraviahanons.

In men’s volleyball, Murcia won over Victorias but the latter failed to get past their rivals from Talisay.

In women’s volleyball, host Murcia was crushed by EB Magalona but managed to salvage a victory against Talisay.

EB Magalona will host next weekend’s competition at the at the Wilkinson Gym.*

Senators Ejercito, Zubiri Want Lower Excise Tax

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 08:18



by Eugene Adiong on Tue, 06/13/2017

The proposed excise tax of the Duterte administration may have inflationary effect especially on petroleum and sugar-sweetened products, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said yesterday.

“I’m not in favor of increasing that much (tax) especially on petroleum products and sugar. I’m quite certain as I was able to talk to some other senators and I don’t think they will adopt the House version and I find those proposals too high. We might be able to lower the individual tax but prices of goods and commodities might increase”, Ejercito said.

Ejercito was in Silay City as guest of Silay’s 60th Charter Day and Independence Day celebrations.

“But we have to look into this. My worry is if the government would be able to increase revenues based on taxes on beverages using sugar. It might have negative effects, although health issues like renal and diabetes and other top diseases that the Filipinos are exposed to are the basis for the planned excise tax”, he said.

“Some beverage companies may have losses on sales and subsequently cut cost on their operation that may result in the retrenchment of employees as well as for some workers in the sugar industry and in factories. When sales of the beverage companies will be affected, it will definitely affect their operation”, Ejercito said.

He said that he “has apprehensions on imposing those excise taxes because it might have high inflationary effects despite the Department of Finance’s claim that it is negligible.”

Ejercito feels that the proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Package that includes excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, petroleum products and car sales will bring about rough sailing.

FOR SUGAR INDUSTRY. Ejercito also held a forum with sugar planters and informed them of the two significant laws he authored and passed in Congress that would help the sugar industry, specifically the the Anti- Agricultural Smuggling Act and the Sugarcane Industry Development Act.

“I hope that these two measures could really help the sugar industry in Negros, the hometown of my mother”, he said.

He also promised to support the proposal of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri to lower the excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages using locally produced sugar, from the House approved P10 per liter.

ZUBIRI. On Friday, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri promised sugar industry stakeholders to fight for the reduction of the P10-a-liter excise tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.

“I am only one vote in the Senate,” Zubiri, said as he asked sugar industry leaders to lobby for support from the rest of the members of the Senate.

He pointed out the need for the support of Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and is sympathetic to the sugar industry.

Zubri said he is ready to get the ire of the country’s financial managers. “We have to fight for our farmers,” he said.

The senator is pushing for the reduction of the P10-a-liter excise tax to P5, and for the retention of the House of Representatives–approved P20 excise tax per liter for sweetened-beverages using High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and other imported sweeteners.

Earlier, Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez of Negros Occ.’s 3rd district, said the Visayan bloc failed to reduce the excise tax on sugar-sweetened drinks from P10 per liter to P5, but they were able to double the amount on imported sweeteners.

Zubiri pointed out that the tax on sugar sweetened drinks, which includes softdrinks and three-in-one coffee “needs to be reduced to prevent a drop in their sales that would gravely affect the Philippine sugar industry, of which Negros Occidental is the largest producer.”

HFCS. The solon said that the Senate inquiry on industry complaints against beverage firms’ large purchases of HFCS that was driving down the prices of domestically-produced sugar led to Coca-Cola’s withdrawing its case that sought to stop the implementation of Sugar Order No. 3 that authorized the Sugar Regulatory Administration to regulate the entry of imported HFCS and to commit to buying more domestic sugar, he said.

He said that the Senate Committee on Agriculture’s unanimous report on the inquiry will state that it supports SO3, the importation of HFCS and other sugar substitutes should be highly regulated, and the DA should protect the country’s farmers.

“HFCS is a health issue, that is why other nations discourage its use through high taxes, and it is not just an issue of protectionism for Filipino farmers.,” Zubiri said.

Coca-Cola has signified its intention to buy 2 million bags of sugar this crop year and 2.3 bags million more next crop year, he added.

Lawyer Emilio Yulo III, spokesperson of the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines said informal talks are ongoing with different firms on an increase in their purchase of domestic sugar.

Earlier, Sugar Regulatory Administrator Anna Rosario Paner said a sugar production overhang of 400,000MT is expected this crop year.

If the companies buy a sufficient volume of Philippine sugar it will reduce the overhang to only the buffer stock needed by the country, and ensure better domestic prices next crop year, Yulo said.*(Eugene Y.Adiong)

Zubiri to Fight High Excise Taxes

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 08:12



by Eugene Adiong on Mon, 06/12/2017

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri on Friday promised sugar industry stakeholders to fight for the reduction of the P10-a-liter excise tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.

But, I am only one vote in the Senate, Zubiri said as he asked sugar industry leaders to lobby for support from the rest of the members of the Senate.

He pointed out that the need for the support of Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and is sympathetic to the sugar industry.

Zubri said he is ready to get the ire of the country’s financial managers.

“We have to fight for our farmers,” he said.

The senator is pushing for the reduction of the P10-a-liter excise tax to P5, and for the retention of the House of Representatives–approved P20 excise tax per liter for sweetened-beverages using High Fructose Corn Syrup and other imported sweeteners.

Earlier, Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said the Visayan bloc failed to reduce the excise tax on sugar-sweetened drinks from P10 per liter to P5, but they were able to double the amount on imported sweeteners.

Zubiri pointed out that the tax on sugar sweetened drinks, which includes softdrinks and three-in-one coffee “needs to be reduced to prevent a drop in their sales that would gravely affect the Philippine sugar industry, of which Negros Occidental is the largest producer.”

HFCS. The solon said that the Senate inquiry on industry complaints against beverage firms’ large purchases of HFCS that was driving down the prices of domestically-produced sugar led to Coca-Cola’s withdrawing its case that sought to stop the implementation of Sugar Order No. 3 that authorized the Sugar Regulatory Administration to regulate the entry of imported HFCS and to commit to buying more domestic sugar, he said.

He said that the Senate Committee on Agriculture’s unanimous report on the inquiry will state that it supports SO3, the importation of HFCS and other sugar substitutes should be highly regulated, and the DA should protect the country’s farmers.

“HFCS is a health issue, that is why other nations discourage its use through high taxes, and it is not just an issue of protectionism for Filipino farmers.,” Zubiri said.

Coca-Cola has signified its intention to buy 2 million bags of sugar this crop year and 2.3 bags million more next crop year, he added.

Lawyer Emilio Yulo III, spokesperson of the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines said informal talks are ongoing with different firms on an increase in their purchase of domestic sugar.

Earlier, Sugar Regulatory Administrator Anna Rosario Paner said a sugar production overhang of 400,000MT is expected this crop year.

If the companies buy a sufficient volume of Philippine sugar it will reduce the overhang to only the buffer stock needed by the country, and ensure better domestic prices next crop year, Yulo said.*(Eugene Y. Adiong)

Tight Rope: Trash to energy

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 18:01



TIGHT ROPE WITH MODESTO P. SA-ONOY
Thursday, June 08, 2017

Report says that Rep. Albee Benitez has initiated moves to bring to his district a new source of energy. Well, this is actually not new but only novel for this province and probably a pioneering project in the district.

The trash to energy project in the 3 rd district will convert garbage and plastic wastes which are petroleum-based into diesel fuel. If they segregate these wastes, they can reduce their waste from 20-30 tons a day to only 10. In effect the district will be producing fuel for trucks, jeeps, cars and motorcycles. The news report does not say how many liters of diesel fuel the project will produce but one thing for certain, the district will reduce considerably the need for dump sites.

There are no basic details enough for us to know how their plan will work out or the economics of it, like how many tons of plastics are needed to produce a liter of diesel and whether the price of this fuel can compete with the existing diesel sold in the gas stations.

Nevertheless, there is similarity in the present plastic collection system in all dump sites where scavengers abound. They sell the plastics and these are recycled. We have yet to hear these plastics being converted into fuel because recycling and reusing is more profitable.

A different kind of converting trash or garbage into energy has been going on in several states and countries for years but we had been accustomed to the cheap power project that is coal and now the solar and wind power that trash to energy is rather strange to us.

The concept is not really difficult to understand. Garbage is burned as a fuel to generate steam and thus power. The sugar mills are actually using trash like pulp from sugar cane but not cane trash from the field which are just leaves and are left to rot. Sometimes they burned them to kill rats though this practice is now banned. Moreover field trash is bulky and costly to bring to the mill.

Bagasse on the other hand is already in the mill and is more compact and therefore less expensive. In the past, mills burned the pulp because they produce so much of it. The accumulated bagasse can form a mountain and oftentimes pose a danger when they burned.

Trash to energy is a project of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, the so-called co-generation project whereby the mills use their bagasse to produce energy that they send to the national grid. There is no report of the results of this project but even from its basics, we know this is good. In fact, when workers and staffs of sugar mills lived within the compound, these employees got free electricity generated by the centrals.

In more advanced technology, the trash to energy power plants used all kinds of garbage from household and industrial and commercial sources. The only garbage that are not acceptable are those that could emit radiation. Garbage entering the plant pass through a monitor that records the level of radiation or toxicity. If the harmful elements exceed the limit, the trucks are diverted to remove the harmful element.

All others are burned in a huge pit. I was hosted in one of these plants in the United States and saw the entire operation - from the entrance of the garbage, the burning, the controls against polluting and harmful chemicals to the disposal of residues - steel and iron, for instance that don't burn and the ashes.

The iron and steel, some are carcasses of a whole car, are collected for recycling. The most interesting are the ashes, tons of them. The ashes are sold. The ash is mixed with cement to produce what they call, “soft cement”. These are excellent in the sculpting of statues, gravestones, and markers. Others use them for path walks in farms, pigsty, barns, and flower pots.

More remarkable is the relation between the plant and the government. New Jersey pays the plant to burn its garbage so it does not need a dump site. The county in return buys the power produced by the plant, so the plant has a ready market.

Bacolod spends millions annually for garbage collection and management of the dump site. It also pays for its electricity. When the dump site is filled, it buys another, ad infinitum, because the city produces more garbage everyday.*

           

Talisay Scores Multiple Wins in 3rd Albee Cup

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 15:14



on Tue, 06/06/2017

The Talisay Team in the 3rd Albee Cup Inter-LGU Sportsfest scored multiple wins over the other LGU groups in the second week of the basketball and volleyball games.

In the basketball matches for 39 below category, Talisay won over Victorias last June 3; and beat Silay in the June 4 schedule. Talisay also beat Murcia (June 3) and EB Magalona (June 4) in the 40 above basketball games.

Talisay’s 5th win is in the volleyball-men’s category last June 4, playing against EB Magalona.

The Victorias basketballers won in 2 play-offs – against EB Magalona in the June 3 40 above category and against Murcia by default in June 4.

In volleyball men’s, Victorias beat Silay and also won against Murcia in the women’s category.

Murcia beat Silay thrice - in basketball 40 above and in volleyball men’s and women’s, all during the June 4 games.

EB Magalona won in volleyball matches as it beat Murcia in volleyball men’s and the Talisay volleyball women’s.

The Silay team won only in basketball 39 below over EB Magalona, and in volleyball women’s beating Talisay.

The games for the second week of the Albee Cup were all hosted by Talisay – volleyball at the Talisay Public Plaza Covered Court and basketball at the Talisay Gym.

The third week-end (June 17 and 18) tournament will be held at the Murcia gym and plaza covered court . Finals abd championship games are scheduled iob June 24 and 25 in Victorias City.

Third District Congressman Alfredo Benitez has started in 2014 a summer sportsfest where friendly matches in basketball and volleyball were participated in by elected officials of cities and towns in the District, from the mayor down to the barangay kagawad. This year is the 3rd for the Albee Cup Inter-LGU Sportsfest.*

Talisay cagers, spikers post wins in Albee Cup

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 14:09



June 6, 2017

Host Talisay City registered multiple wins in basketball and volleyball during the weekend to establish an early lead in the team standings of the 3rd Albee Cup Inter-LGU Sportsfest during the second weekend of the tournament.




The Talisay 3rd Albee Cup Team led by Councilors Rolin Meliton and RJ Tuvilla flank Dr. Francisco Benitez who was guest speaker at the Inter-LGU Sportsfest opening.

In 39 below basketball, Talisay beat Victorias on Saturday then dealt Silay the same fate the next day. Talisay also prevailed over Murcia and E.B. Magalona in 40 above basketball.
In men’s volleyball, Talisay once again beat the team from E.B. Magalona, while its women spikers yielded to the Saraviahons and the Silaynons.

Regaining their winning form in 40 above basketball, Victorias beat E.B. Magalona Saturday and Murcia the next day.

Victorias also beat Silay in men’s volleyball and prevailed over Murcia in the women’s category.

Murcia managed to post three wins in the tournament by beating Silay in 40 above basketball and men and women’s volleyball. The Murciahanons, however, yielded to E.B. Magalona in men’s volleyball.

The Silay team snatched a win in 39 below basketball over E.B. Magalona, and in women’s volleyball against Talisay.

The third weekend of the tournament will be held at the Murcia gym and plaza covered court. Finals and championship games are scheduled on June 24 and 25 in Victorias City.*
The Talisay City Team with Dr. Franciso Benitez, brother of Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Albee Benitez.*

House doubles tax on HFCS – Albee

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 18:52



By Carla P. Gomez on Friday, June 2, 2017

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) yesterday said the Visayan bloc failed to reduce the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks using locally produced sugar from P10 per liter to P5, but they were able to double the amount on imported sweeteners in the House-approved comprehensive tax reform package .

Benitez, who along with the Visayan bloc congressmen, had lobbied for a P5 reduction,said it was not granted because the country's financial managers had a set amount to meet.

However, this will be offset by the inclusion of the provision in the tax reform package that raised the excise tax to P20 per liter on sweetened beverages using imported sweeteners, he said.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday told the DAILY STAR he will also push to double the tax on sugar substitutes in the Senate.

The P20 excise tax per liter for sweetened-beverages using High Fructose Corn Syrup and other imported sweeteners will at leasteven the playing field and will make local industry users buy locally produced sugar, Sugar Alliance of the Philippines spokesperson Emilio Yulo III said.

We remain thankful to our local legislators who tried their best to come up with a win-win solution toprotect the sugar industry, however, we also know it was a numbers game and with the President himself certifying the bill as urgent, we understand their quandary, he said.

The House voted 246 for and 9 against to pass House Bill 5636, also known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), Benitez said.

He said all the Negros Island Region congressmen voted for the passage of the bill except for Rep. ArnulfoTeves (Neg. Or., 3 rd District) who joined the Makabayan bloc in voting against it. Teves was opposed to the increase in additional tax on fuel, he said.

But Benitez said tax on fuel will be imposed in phases starting at P3 on the first year, P2 on the second and P1 on the third year that will hardly be felt.

He said the most attractive feature of the TRAIN is the lower tax rate for fixed income earners starting Jan. 1, 2018, that will benefit many wage earners.

Government will no longer impose taxes on personal income not over P250,000 and incremental tax will be imposed only on personal income over P250,000, he said.*CPG

 

THIRD DISTRICT EYEING LONG TERM WASTE SOLUTION

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 13:54



By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
June 2, 2017

A consortium of local government units (LGUs) in the third legislative district of Negros Occidental is considering the installation of a waste-to-energy plant.

According to Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, the five LGUs, together with local congressman, Rep. Alfredo Benitez, are “negotiating with an American firm for the project that will convert plastic waste into diesel.”

The project looks to minimize costs associated with the acquisition and maintenance of landfills.

The mayor explained, after 50 to 100 years, the areas where these dumps are established will no longer be utilized.

“In the next five years, there will be new technologies on waste that we can adopt,” said the mayor.

“We are keeping our options open,” he added.

Palanca explained his city has already received an offer from a private corporation to haul its garbage. Through segregation, the city’s daily garbage would be reduced from 30 to 10 tons but he expressed doubts if the company would be able to undertake the contract.

He said he is looking into a public-private partnership “so government funds can be used for other projects.”

The Third District covers Victorias City, Silay City, Talisay City, EB Magalona, and Murcia./WDJ

Albee delivering water, power

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:39



By Carla P. Gomez on Friday, June 2, 2017

Vital groundwork to provide residents and communities in remote and far-flung areas in the 3rd District power and water supply harnessed from renewal energy was facilitated last week by Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Negros Occidental 3rd District), a press release from his office said yesterday.


Validation teams that arrived in Negros Occidental from the Department of Energy and the Department of Science and Technology were guided by the staff of Benitez, with the support of local government executives of the Third District.

Representatives from the Central Negros Electric Cooperative and the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative also joined the activity for the Household Electrification Program (HEP), a component of the expanded Rural Electrification Program of the DOE.

Ocular inspection was conducted in Sitios Sibato and Lantawan in Barangay Guimbalaon of Silay City. Covered in Talisay City were Sitio Kipot, Barangay Concepcion; Hacienda Granada in Barangay Matab-ang; and PurokTumpok in Barangay Bubog, the press release said.

Reached in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, are Sitios Balasyang, Genam-an and Tangke. In Victorias City, visited was Barrio Lawaan in Barangay 20.

Barangay Canlusong of EB Magalona that can be accessed through the Victorias City route was also visited and the team reached Hacienda 17, Sitio Ilaya 1 and 2, Jaroy and Marinque.

Those qualified under the HEP will be provided power using renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic, solar home system and micro-hydro system. Beneficiary sitios or barangays are also provided with solar streetlights and communal PV systems, it said.

The qualified areas for the program will be assisted by DOE, the electric cooperatives, their respective LGUs and the office of Cong. Benitez in the preparation of requirements for qualified and committed households.

DOST, on the other hand, fielded an Engineering Consortium composed of representatives from the Technological University of the Phil. in the Visayas, Carlos Hilado Memorial State College, Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod and the Iloilo Science and Technology University to work on a pilot proto-type for a solar-powered water system.

The DOST group visited Barangay Caliban in Murcia, Barangay Consing in EB Magalona, and Barangay 12 in Victorias, the press release also said.*

The DOE team in Barangay Canlusong, EB Magalona.*

Waste to Energy Project Eyed in 3rd District

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:23



by Eugene Adiong on Fri, 06/02/2017

The five local government units in the third district of Negros Occidental is eyeing a waste to energy project, Victorias City Mayor Francis Palanca said.

"Together with Rep. Alfredo Benitez we are negotiating with an American firm for the project that will convert plastic waste into diesel ," Palanca said.

The Mayor said that he is not in favor of landfill because "you have to spend so much money for 50 to 100 years and you can't utilize the land."

However, in compliance with the law "we have set aside budget in the purchase of a small land adjacent to our old dumpsite in Brgy.14," he also said.

"We are keeping our options open. We have received an offer for a private corporation to haul our garbage. If there is segregation, our garbage will go down from about 30 tons daily to just 10 tons," Palanca said which may not be viable for a private company to undertake.

He said that he is looking into a public-private partnership "so that government funds can be used for other projects."

"In the next five years there will be new technologies on waste that we could adopt," he said.*(Eugene Y. Adiong)

 

 

Sugar leaders: Sweetener tax cut snub a ‘big blow’

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:02




By Marchel P. Espina/Teresa D. Ellera
Friday, June 2, 2017

SUGAR leaders in Negros Occidental lamented the lawmakers’ snub of their bid to lower the excise tax on sweetened beverages to minimize its effects to the industry.

Sugar Alliance of the Philippines spokesperson Emilio Yulo III on Thursday, June 1, said the recent passage of the tax reform program in the House of Representatives, which included the excise tax on fuel and sugar sweetened beverage, without consideration to amendments proposed by Visayan legislators is another “big blow” to the sugar industry.

“We are still facing the unresolved issue of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and even before we can take a breather, we are hit again with the passage of this tax law,” he said.

Yulo said they are hoping that the Senate will make some considerations, adding that “maybe some of our champions there can do something to cushion the effect of this tax law on the sugar industry.”

“This is going to be tough sailing for all,” he added.

Moreover, Yulo thanked the Visayan lawmakers, including the Makabayan bloc, for strongly opposing the measure.

“We remain thankful to our legislators who tried their best to come up with a win-win solution intended to protect the sugar industry. However, we also know it was a numbers game and with the President himself certifying the bill as urgent, we understand their quandary,” Yulo said.

Still, Yulo said they will continue to appeal and hope that the lawmakers will continue to fight and protect the sugar industry.

He added that they are also hoping that the congressmen will try “to revisit” the bill again and urge their colleagues “to understand our plight and its impact on our embattled industry.”

‘Dead end issue’

Abang Lingkod party-list Representative Stephen Paduano said the proposed P10 per liter excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages is a “dead-end issue” for the Department of Finance.

“No amount of explanation will change their mind,” he added.

Under the tax reform package, which was approved in the House of Representatives the other day, the excise tax on sweetened beverages using locally produced sugar will be P10 per liter while those using HFCS will be taxed P20 per liter.

“This will oblige beverage companies to use locally produced sugar,” Paduano said.

Also, the sugar industry will receive P9 billion every year that represents 15 percent of the total revenues from the excise tax on sweetened beverages, he said.

The subsidy will be incorporated in the Sugar and Industry Development Act (Sida), which has an annual P2 billion appropriation for the sugar industry, Paduano said.

He added: "We can expect more infrastructure and other projects for the sugar industry.”

Negros Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez, who authored Sida, has proposed for the incorporation of the subsidy from the excise tax on sweetened beverages to Sida in addition to the P2 annual fund allocation.

According to the bill, sugar sweetened beverage will be levied with an excise tax of P10 per liter of volume capacity, which will be adjusted once every three years through rules and regulations issued by the Finance Secretary after considering its effect on the inflation rate.

The bill defines sugar sweetened beverage as non-alcoholic beverage that includes sweetened juice drinks; sweetened tea and coffee; all carbonated beverage with added sugar, including those with caloric and non-caloric sweeteners; flavored water; energy drinks; sports drinks; powdered drinks not classified as milk, juice, tea and coffee; cereal and grain beverages; and other non-alcoholic beverages that contain sugar.

Exempted from the tax package are the following beverages are: plain milk and milk drink products without added sugar; all milk products, infant formula, and milk alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and chocolate milk; 100 percent natural fruit juices, 100 percent natural vegetable juice; meal replacement and medically indicated beverages; ground coffee; and unsweetened tea, according to the bill.

VISAYAN BLOC LOBBY FAILS HOUSE APPROVES P10/LITER SUGAR EXCISE TAX

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 06:09



By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
June 2, 2017

The House of Representatives passed yesterday the tax reform package introduced by Malacañang, which includes a P10 per liter excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, despite a critical amendment proposed by the Visayan Bloc to reduce the charge by half to P5 per liter.

The bloc, led by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo ‘Albee’ Benitez (3rd District, PDP-Laban), supported the proposed reduction but ultimately failed as the House plenary voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill certified as urgent by President Rodrigo R. Duterte recently.

Bacolod City Councilor Caesar Distrito, who authored a resolution opposing the sugar tax, expressed fears over the negative impact of additional taxes on those living in or below the poverty line. In a message the local legislator sent through Facebook yesterday, he said the additional tax will have a tremendous impact on sugar prices.

“So the effect would be, is to just add the taxes on the price of sugar, which will not redound to the benefit of our sugar workers and planters,” said Distrito.

He explained, once it is implemented, the government will get P10 as an excise tax for a liter of softdrinks, juice, or any beverage that uses sugar, either in liquid or powder form. As the prices of these items will rise, he said it would also result in lower consumption.

“Lower consumption means lower sales,” he said. “So eventually the sugar industry will suffer,” Distrito said.

Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Alain Gatuslao, meanwhile, stated he is hoping the additional tax on sugar sweetened products will not negatively affect the sugar industry.

He said the Provincial Board recently passed a house resolution asking the members of the House Representatives to lower the tax, adding they are fully supportive of the Benitez amendments.

Abang Lingkod Partylist Representative Stephen Paduano also released a statement assuring the solons from Negros and the Visayan bloc tried to protect the sugar industry with the passage of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package.

Paduano explained that while they were unable to reduce the P10 per liter tax on beverages using locally-produced sugar, beverages using High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) will be taxed P20 per liter. The solon said it will oblige beverage companies to use locally produced sugar.

Paduano added the sugar industry will also receive P9 billion every year that represents 15 percent of the total revenues from the excise tax on sweetened beverages.

He pointed out the subsidy will be incorporated to the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA) that appropriates P2 billion for the industry every year.

“We can expect more infrastructure and other projects for the sugar industry,” Paduano added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved the tax reform package on final reading with 246 affirmative votes, nine negative votes, and one abstention. Apart from the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, the measure also seeks to reduce personal income taxes while imposing additional taxes on fuel and automobiles. The measure will be transmitted to the Senate where it is expected to face scrutiny and considerably more opposition./WDJ

VICTORIAS CITY SCHOOLCHILDREN RECEIVE FLU SHOTS

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 13:10



June 1, 2017

A total 150 Estado Elementary School-Hacienda Mimi Extension students received free immunization for influenza, of the flu, a project of Victoria Bantug Hoffart, together with the Victorias Kaayong Lawas Foundation and the Immaculate Conception Health Center.

School head Cynthia Lazo welcomed and thanked the project benefactors. The group also distributed notebooks as a contribution towards the Brigada Eskwela program of the school./WDJ

Victorias school kids given free flu shots

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 12:58



Thursday, June 1, 2017

One-hundred fifty schoolchildren of the Estado Elementary School-Hacienda Mimi Extension in Barangay 10 – Barrio Estado in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, were beneficiaries of free immunization for influenza, recently.


This was a project of Victoriahanon Victoria Bantug Hoffart, with the Victorias Kaayong Lawas Foundation and the Immaculate Conception Health Center, to commemorate the 98th birth anniversary of former Victorias Mayor Remedios Palanca Bantug, its press release said.

Hoffart is a daughter of Remedios Bantug and sister to the late Betty Bantug Benitez, mother of Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District).

School head Cynthia Lazo welcomed and thanked the project benefactors, led by Hoffart, VKLF president Tricia Anne Regino, Immaculate Conception Health Center medical director, Dr. Ralph Cana, and hospital administrator Butch Gicana.

The group also distributed notebooks for schoolchildren as a contribution to the Brigada Eskwela program in the school, the press release added.*

The schoolchildren of the Estado-Mimi Extension Elementary School who received free flu shots*

Flu Shots for Victorias Schoolchildren  

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 10:18



on Thu, 06/01/2017


A total of 150 schoolchildren of the Estado Elementary School-Hacienda Mimi Extension, in Barangay 10 – Barrio Estado, Victorias City were beneficiaries of free immunization for influenza, a project of Victoriahanon Mrs. Victoria Bantug Hoffart together with the Victorias Kaayong Lawas Foundation and the Immaculate Conception Health Center to commemorate the 98th birth anniversary of former Victorias Mayor Remedios Palanca Bantug.



School head Cynthia Lazo and teachers with project benefactors and staff led by Mrs. Victoria Bantug Hoffart, Tricia Anne L. Regino, Dr. Ralph I. Cana and Butch Gicana.

Mrs. Hoffart is a daughter of Mayor Remedios Bantug and sister to the late Betty Bantug Benitez, mother of Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez.

School head Cynthia Lazo welcomed and thanked the project benefactors led by Mrs. Victoria Bantug Hoffart, VKLF president Tricia Anne L. Regino, Immaculate Conception Health Center medical director Dr. Ralph T. Caña and hospital administrator Butch Gicana.

The group also distributed notebooks for the schoolchildren as a contribution to the Brigada Eskwela program of the school.*

 

Albee Cup Inter-LGU Sportsfest Opens

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 09:53



on Wed, 05/31/2017

Elected officials of the Third District, from mayors, vice-mayors, councilors, barangay captains and barangay councilmen saw action over the weekend as the 3rd ALBEE CUP Inter-LGU Sportsfest opened at the Silay City Natalio G. Velez Sports and Cultural Center.

Congressman Alfredo Benitez, seeing the opportunity to foster stronger camaraderie among public officials in his District and at the same time, promote physical fitness and well-being, launched the sportsfest in 2014.

This year’s theme is “Upod sa hampang, sinadya kag ASENSO sa Metro 3rd”.

Close to a hundred local government officials of Victorias, EB Magalona, Silay, Talisay and Murcia will compete in a series of basketball and volleyball matches in various venues every week-end from May 27 to June 26

Roger Banzuela Event Coordinator and Tournament Director, said events include basketball-men for 39 yrs. old and below; and 40 yrs. old and above. There is also volleyball-men and women, open category.*

3RD ALBEE CUP VICTORIAS CITY LEADS

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 14:31



May 30, 2017

Victorias City currently leads the ongoing 3rd Albee Cup Inter-LGU Sportsfest, following basketball and volleyball events, which took place over the weekend at the Natalio G. Velez Sports and Cultural Center in Silay City.



Dr. Francisco B. Benitez, Philippine Women’s University president and younger brother of Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez, took part in the ceremonial toos to kick off the 3rd Albee Cup. He is joined by Victorias City Mayor Frederick Palanca, Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, and Talisay City Councilor Gab Villacin.

In men’s volleyball, EB Magalona defeated Victorias City, while Talisay City beat Murcia.

During the weekend’s opening ceremonies, Silay City Mayor Mark Golez welcomed all the participants, while Dr. Francisco B. Benitez, Philippine Women’s University president and younger brother of Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez, the event’s namesake, addressed those gathered.

The next matches are set to take place between June 3 and 4./WDJ

Victorias scores opening day victory in 3rd Albee Cup Inter-LGU Sportsfest

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 14:10



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Victorias cagers beat Silay in the 40 Up and 39 Below basketball while its women spikers prevailed over Talisay to start their campaign on a winning in the 3rd Albee Cup: Inter-LGU Sportsfest held during the weekend at the Natalio G. Velez Sports and Cultural Center in Silay City.



Ceremonial toss to open the 3rd Albee Cup with Dr. Francisco Benitez, Victorias City Mayor Wantan Palanca, Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, E.B. Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon and Talisay City Councilor Gab Villacin.*

Also off to a good start is the local government of E.B. Magalona with wins in women’s volleyball against host Silay and against Victorias in men’s volleyball.

Talisay rallied to beat Murcia in men’s volleyball and in 39 Below basketball while the latter exacted revenge at the expense of EB Magalona in 40 Up basketball.

The 3rd Albee Cup opened Saturday in Silay City with Dr. Francisco B. Benitez, younger brother of Third District Representative Alfredo B. Benitez and current president of the Philippine Women’s University, as guest speaker.

Benitez welcomed the participating athletes during the opening program and cited them for the cooperation and support they have shown for the program.

He encouraged the participants to stay fit and take the opportunity to strengthen ties with fellow public officials both through the friendly competition and sharing of best practices.

Leading their respective teams during the opening rites were Silay Mayor Golez, Victorias Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, Talisay Councilors Gab Villacin, Rolin Meliton and RJ Tuvilla;; and Murcia Councilors Jose Gomez and Belen Magbanua.

The next schedule of matches are on June 3 and 4 to be hosted by Talisay City, with basketball games to be played at the Talisay Gym and volleyball games at the Talisay Plaza Covered Court.*
Ceremonial toss to open the 3rd Albee Cup with Dr. Francisco Benitez, Victorias City Mayor Wantan Palanca, Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, E.B. Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon and Talisay City Councilor Gab Villacin.*

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