Press Release
July 3, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara yesterday cited the alleged oil companies' lobby against the use of ethanol and coco bio-diesel as "narrow-mindedness" and "short-sightedness".

"It would really be short-sighted on the part of oil companies to oppose the bill because rejecting such is primarily against the national interest," Angara said. "Biofuels are not only alternatives but, more importantly, imperatives to the country's energy requirements as well as environmental and economic concerns," he continued.

Angara said the country imports 94 percent of its annual oil requirements. But through use of coconut methyl or coco-diesel, the country will save over 200 million U.S. dollars in a year.

Angara also said that the use of alternative energy to cut fuel costs is already rampant and demonstrated in countries where ethanol and coco bio-diesel are extensively used. He enumerated Brazil, India, China and Canada as some of the countries that use biofuels today.

"The prospects are really exciting and promising that there is no reason why we cannot or will not approve the bill in year's end," Angara said.

He said that the country has at least two primary sources of ethanol and biomass energy. He cited the plant "getropa", also known as "tuba-tuba", as one excellent source of ethanol for blending as bio fuel. Apart from coconut, Angara also noted the popular sugarcane which has been well-established in the country for more than a century.

"Of course, we have to provide tax breaks and incentives to biofuel producers especially at this time when sugar demands a premium price in the international market. We must be able to encourage our sugar producers to shift a part of their production and dedicate it to ethanol," Angara said.

Angara, who met with the Philippine Sugar Millers Association, said the group is certain to expand new areas in Mindanao, Southern Luzon, and Cagayan Valley to sustain sugar demands. (30)

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