Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) yesterday said he has held off filing his Sugar Act bill, initially planned for December, on the request of sugar industry stakeholders.
The sugar planters have asked for a meeting next week, he said.
“The industry stakeholders have asked me to hold the filing of the bill in abeyance so we can come up with a final draft first,” Benitez said.
At the 14th Tinabu-ay Festival in Murcia town, Benitez had said he was set to file the bill last month. He assured then that even after the bill is filed there is enough room to further amend and refine it while being deliberated on in Congress.
The bill is designed to cushion the impact of sugar trade liberalization in the country in 2015 when tariffs on imports are lifted.
“I think, we need to be sure that, at the end of the day, the safeguards are there. We should not slip into a situation where even the planters could hardly afford to plant anymore and millers could no longer afford to mill,” Benitez said.*CPG