Press Release
December 12, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the concerns of the transport industry about the mandatory use of ethanol and bio-diesel should not be disregarded by the government as it prepares to implement the Bio-Fuels Act.

Pimentel, one of the principal authors of the Bio-Fuels Act, was reacting to the call of leaders of operators and drivers of bus and jeepney associations for the deferment or suspension of the implementation of this legislation pending an extensive study of the use of bio-diesel and ethanol by motor vehicles in the country.

He said that the concerns of the transport industry should be considered by the government in the formulation of the implementing rules and regulations of the Bio-Fuels Act which is expected to be signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this month.

The leaders of the transport industry said that the Bio-Fuels Act should ensure its promised long-term beneficial effects and continued livelihood of millions of Filipinos dependent on the transport industry.

They noted in particular that bio-diesel is a relatively new technology necessitating the need for a more extensive, transparent and comprehensive technical evaluation on the use of Coconut Methyl Ester, or bio-diesel as an alternative source of fuel to determine its effects on the engine and ultimately on the lives of the millions of families dependent on the transport industry which would be adversely affected should bio-diesel prove to be harmful to the motor engine.

Pimentel said the concerns of the transport industry would be addressed by the Department of Energy which assured him that the Bio-Fuels Act would be implemented fairly and not to prejudice anyone.

Pimentel said the government is giving emphasis on the development, production and use of bio-fuel, also called green fuel, not only to lessen the countrys dependence on very expensive oil but also to reduce air pollution.

He also stressed the importance of immediately implementing the Bio-Fuels Act, which he described as the most important piece of legislation passed by the 13th Congress.

The lone senator from Mindanao said he was told that at least 12 companies are ready to invest in the production of bio-fuels, lured by the tax privileges and other incentives offered by the new legislation.

The Bio-Fuels Act provides that all liquid fuels for motors and engines sold in the Philippines shall contain locally produced bio-fuel components.

Within two years from the effectivity of the act, the annual total volume of gasoline fuel actually sold and distributed in the country should contain at least 5 percent bio-ethanol.

The amount of bio-ethanol in gasoline would be increased to 10 percent four years after the law is passed as determined recommended by the National Biofuels Board.

The act also provides that a minimum of 1 percent bio-diesel by volume would be blended into all diesel engine fuels sold in the country upon effectivity of the laws implementing rules and regulations. This amount will be increased to 2 percent within 2 years.

Studies have shown that substituting 10 percent of the countrys imported oil with indigenous, renewable bio-fuels would save the country P35 billion a year from its oil import bill.

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