House approves Sugarcane Bill

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014


THE House of Representatives approved on third and final reading on Monday the Sugarcane Bill authored by Negros Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez.

Benitez, author of House Bill No. 52 or the Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2014, made the confirmation through a text message on Monday.

He said that with the approval of the lower house of the Sugarcane Bill, they now await the approval of the Senate version so that it could become a law.

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Senator Francis Escudero, Benitez's counterpart at the Senate, had assured industry stakeholders of the passage of the bill into law before the year ends.

The law is the hope of the sugar industry to hurdle the Asean Free Trade Agreement (Afta) that will impose up to zero tariff on imported sugar and other agricultural products.

The Sugarcane Bill contains measures, including government assistance to the sugar industry like the setting up of the sugar industry fund.

Benitez said that sugar industry leaders fear imported sugar from Thailand and other Asean countries due to Afta.

Escudero had earlier said the Senate committee on agriculture chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar continues to conduct hearings on the Sugarcane Bill.

The passage of the bill would help the sugar industry become competitive so that it will survive the implementation of the Afta, the senator said.

Our agricultural products need to have quality in order to compete, Escudero said. (TDE)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 05, 2014.

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