Lawmaker cites bills, more plans for Third District
NIGS. As he is sworn in for another term as representative of Negros Occidental’s Third District, Francisco Benitez promises more bills that would not only benefit his constituents, but Filipinos as well. (Erwin Nicavera)
NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez assured Saturday, June 18, that he would introduce more bills and lead additional health projects as he is granted another term to serve his voters.
During his state of the district address and inauguration at the Event Center of Magikland in Silay City, the re-elected congressman also cited relevant bills he sponsored during his first term.
Benitez, who was sworn in before incumbent Silay City Mayor Mark Andrew Golez, also inducted some local officials led by Silay Vice Mayor Tom Ledesma.
“The past two years have tested the resilience of the Filipino spirit (as) we have faced an unprecedented health emergency, an economic recession, a divisive election – and the ripple effects of other international crises such as wars and climate change,” he said. said.
For many families in the Third Arrondissement [of Negros Occidental]Benitez said there have been days in the past two years that have been a “death struggle.”
“The heightened sense of uncertainty and vulnerability to these existential threats has clouded the prospect of a better life for our people,” the lawmaker lamented.
He also said the pandemic has highlighted the need to catch up and embrace the transformations happening in the world.
“We have had to shift our priorities and realign our resources (and) we need to improve our infrastructure, recalibrate the machinery of government and reconfigure the built, social and natural environments,” he told attendees of his inauguration.
It has become more urgent that, although we still need to build new roads, we also need to strengthen the capacity of our local health system to deal with epidemics, build new telecommunication towers and install fiber optic cables. to connect schools and communities to the internet to enable remote learning and remote working, Benitez pointed out.
Benitez, who worked on Bill 10463 that will increase bed capacity at Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital, said the Senate passed the bill before the 18th Congress adjourned and is now awaiting the signature of the President Rodrigo Duterte.
Apart from the provincial hospital, Benitez said they are also mobilizing resources to build or improve more barangay health centers.
In fact, he has introduced several bills in Congress introducing sustainable solutions to development pressures – solutions that leverage science, innovation and creativity that will improve the ability of individuals, households, businesses and communities to adapt to disruptions.
He cited Bill 6874 as an example, which seeks to accelerate the digital transformation of the economy, bureaucracy and education system and to harmonize fragmented information and communication technology (ICT) policies and programs. ), and provides a framework for the digital reskilling of our workforce.
The lawmaker called for a bigger budget for the nation’s ICT department through House Resolution 1203 and funding for the National Broadband Plan which outlines a nationwide fiber optic cable network through House Resolution 1253.
Benitez also chaired the technical working group that crafted Internal Bill 11098, which aims to establish ICT centers in every local government unit.
“These interventions are crucial to harnessing the opportunities created by the fourth industrial revolution,” Benitez stressed, adding that advances in science and technology are radically transforming a wide range of human activities with profound implications for value creation. , consumption and work.
Under his tenure, digital reconversion centers have been opened in the towns of Talisay, Silay and Victorias, all of which will soon be fully operational, while Tech4Ed centers have been established in Murcia and EB Magalona.
Laptops were also given to students and teachers in the Third District for the digital or remote transition.
Other bills sponsored by Bemitez are the Promotion of 5h3 Heritage Tourism and Creative Industries or House Bill 10107 which seeks to cultivate Filipino talent and entrepreneurship and support the creative industries as catalysts for economic growth and national pride.
During this time, Benitez co-authored with Vice President Loren Legarda House Bill 10057, which requires local governments to conduct cultural mapping to boost heritage tourism, heritage conservation and cultural education.
These bills will enable the Third District to harness its cultural capital and maximize cultural assets and human creativity as a springboard for post-pandemic economic recovery.
He said they have expressed to Congress the need for a phased ban on single-use plastics.
“I’m especially proud that Bill 9147, which I helped draft as Chair of the Technical Working Group, passed its third reading – the most advanced stage it has reached since the tabling of the first bill to regulate single-use plastics 20 years ago,” he said.
Benitez was also part of the Conference’s bicameral committee that crafted the Extended Producer Responsibility Bill, which shares responsibility for recovering plastic waste between local government units and manufacturers.
He also led the technical working group on bills to prevent marine pollution and tabled a landmark bill that provides a framework for the blue economy.
He was also the originator of House Bill 10479 which calls for sustainable practices that will protect our marine wealth and maritime heritage.