Press Release
June 20, 2006


Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago yesterday branded as reckless and amateurish the remarks recently made by Bukidnon Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri, accusing the Senate of deliberately sitting on the Biofuels Bill aimed at pushing alternatives to imported crude oil and save the country billions of pesos yearly.

Santiago, who is the principal sponsor of the bill in the Upper Chamber, reminded the solon from Bukidnon to think first, before he speaks, and to listen first before he concludes.

She noted the seemingly more comprehensive and superior version of the Senate than what the House had passed.

House Bill No. 4629 authored by the congressman covers only the mandatory use of bioethanol, as an additive to gasoline. The bill were crafting in the Senate deals with the use of two kinds of biofuel: bioethanol and biodiesel, the senator said, adding:

Senators are meticulously just being careful in the various provisions of the proposed bill, especially in the areas of the incentives and the fuel mixtures. We would not allow ourselves to rush the approval of something that is just half-baked.

The senator stressed that a large percentage of the transport industry in the country is dependent on diesel and clearly, if we are to achieve energy independence, finding viable alternatives to imported diesel must not be left out.

She said that nearly all countries in the world are now using biodiesel, notably Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Japan.

Santiago explained that her committee painstakingly held numerous public hearings on the bill, having invited all stake holders, both the pros and the cons, in order to come up with a comprehensive committee report that truly addresses issues of the bill.

I hate to be lectured on about urgency. We all aspire to serve our country. We must not only serve them, we must serve them well. If the good congressman thinks that law-writing is as easy and as fast as singing the alphabet, it is not, declared the chair of the Senate energy committee.

The Biofuels Bill, for the record, enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate. No one, not even a single member from the minority, is opposed to it. We are just in the process of refining it, making sure that no doubt isnt resolved and no question is left unanswered, Santiago added.

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