Cong. Albee News Feed
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
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.*
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)
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.
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
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
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*
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.
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.*