PGMA seeks speedy congressional action on Renewable Energy Bill
Manila (5 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is prodding Congress to take immediate action on the pending Renewable Energy bill as she stressed the urgent need to accelerate the development of renewable and indigenous sources of energy to wean the country away from its dependence on imported oil.
In her message this morning at the culmination of the four-day First Energy Summit held at the SMX Conference Center of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, the President said while the amendment to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) pends in Congress, it would be wiser to push for the approval of the Renewable Energy bill.
"This way, instead of EPIRA, we can prioritize the Renewable Energy bill which we have certified as urgent," the President said.
The Renewable Energy bill has gathered dust in Congress over the past 10 years.
The bill seeks the declaration of a state policy of giving preference to the development and utilization of renewable energy sources and technologies in view of its environmental and social desirability.
The President noted that while the government has made remarkable gains in the development of indigenous and renewable sources of energy, there is a need to accelerate efforts to achieve total independence from finite, fossil fuel.
"Energy security also demands the development of indigenous and renewable sources of energy, including domestic oil and gas, geothermal, solar, wind, wave and biofuels," she said.
The President said that as a result of government efforts to develop renewable and indigenous sources of energy, the country has slowly lessened its dependence on imported oil.
"We have made gains in energy independence, with domestic sources having grown 43 percent since our administration started in 2001 and now supplying 60 percent of our needs," she said.
"But we must further cut our reliance on foreign oil," she stressed, adding that there is a need for more investments in the energy development area as she cited the interest shown by foreign businesses in pouring their investments into biofuels and bioethanol.
Among these foreign investors are the Bionor Transformacion of Spain and Abengoa, also of Spain. Bionor is looking for 100,000 hectares in Palawan for its jatropha nursery, Abengoa needs some 60,000 hectares for a cassava bioethanol nursery.
Both investments were generated during the President's recent state visit to Spain.
The President also cited the need to expand and sustain investments in non-traditional fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG).
"We must make CNG available to hundreds, not dozens, of buses by pursuing the large investors in Japan and India who have long expressed interest in building a chain of CNG stations and natural gas pipeline from Batangas to the various stations in that chain," she said. (OPS) [top]