MERGE Senators Joel Villanueva, Ronald dela Rosa, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Francis Tolentino (l-r, seated) with Negros Occidental officials led by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, mayors, representatives of various planters groups, labor and agrarian reform beneficiaries show the thumbs up sign at the Senate yesterday, following the sugar import liberalization deferment.* (GPB photo)


Sugar import liberalization
now on hold, Zubiri says
BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

MANILA - The proposed sugar import liberalization is now on hold, pending proposals from various sugar industry stakeholders on how to reform the industry, Senate majority floor leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said yesterday.

Zubiri, who met with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and National Economic Development Authority chief Ernesto Pernia last week, said they have agreed to wait for the proposals of the sugar industry on how they will introduce reforms in the industry.

If there are no reforms, they will go back to their position of liberalizing the sugar importation, he said. moremoremore


City to seek COA resolution
on landfill property cases
BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan yesterday said they will file within this week a manifestation and motion for the early resolution of the criminal and administrative casesfiled by the Investigative Field Office of the Ombudsman against 13 Bacolod City officials and department heads involving the acquisition of a 7-hectare property in Brgy. Felisa, Bacolod for a solidwaste disposal facility, with the Commission on Audit Central Office.

Bayatan said the main issue of the COA regional office is the alleged overprice of the property. But according to the Ombudsman who dismissed the cases, the transaction was fair, the acquisition of the property had undergone proper assessment, and the property was really intended and suitable for its purpose.

They are glad that the cases were issued a final resolution by the Ombudsman that is favorable to the respondents. But under COA rules, this will be subject to automatic review by its central office, he said. moremoremore

 

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NegOcc to promote heirloom rice
BY MAX MACAHILO

Negros Occidental is bent on the promotion of heirloom rice by way of expanding the organic lands in the province.

Provincial Organic focal person, Corazon Galon, said demands for heirloom varieties such as the black, red, brown and even organically grown white rice are surging in the market.

Galon said they have already given technical trainings to some 800 rice farmers since the first day of the recent 14th Negros Island Organic Farmers’ Festival to lure them into growing heirloom varieties.