The House Committee on Agriculture and Food is set to hear House Bill 6113 or the Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2012 for the first time today, its author Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said yesterday.
Representatives of various government agencies have been invited to the hearing of the committee at the House of Representatives chairedby Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza (Batangas, 4th District), Benitez said.
Inputs will be solicited to furtherimprove the bill, he said.
On Saturday representatives of sugar federations met with Benitez in Negros to provide their inputs to the bill, and to call for the grantingof more powers to the Sugar Regulatory Administration to stop smuggling, he added.
Benitez has said that the bill is geared towards revitalizing and strengthening the sugarcane industry through a diversification, development and financing programs.
It is incumbent upon policy-makers to institute measures, both by legislation and executive implementation, to cushion if not counter the possible destabilization effects of the tariff lifting on imported sugar entering the Philippines by 2015, he added.
Programs and projects to diversify sugarcane production should not only involve raw and refined sugar but also its by-products such as bagasse, molasses and filter mud that shall be identified, developed, promoted and implemented starting 2013, he said.
The act also aims to transform the sugarcane industry from merely producing sugar, to the production of power, fuel and other possible biochemical products, and as a means for waste disposal, he added.
Under the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement tariff on imported sugar entering the country dropped from 38 percent last year to 28 percent this year. It will further drop to 18 percent in 2013, 10 percent in 2014 and 5 percent in 2015.*CPG