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PIA Press Release

Jatropha on the rise as RP's alternative fuel

Tacloban City (August 19) -- With the way President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the PNOC-AFC is promoting its production, jatropha is now on the rise as one of the country's alternative fuel, which will cut down fossil fuel imports, boost environment-friendly vehicle emissions and provide employment and alternative livelihood opportunity to people in the rural communities.

In her State of the Nation Address on July 28, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced that Jatropha estates are starting in 900 hectares in and around Tamlang Valley in Negros Oriental; 200 in Camarines Sur; 300 in General Santos; 500 in Fort Magsaysay near the Cordero Dam and 700 in Samar, among others.

On the eve of her 8th State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inspected the Jatropha Mega Nursery and Plantation at Fort Magsaysay, the headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, drawing attention to the priority her administration is giving to the propagation of jatropha as an alternative fuel source.

It would be recalled that it was in this headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (PA) on June 3, 2006 that the President endorsed jatropha (tuba-tuba) as a biofuel alternative to fossil fuel.

The five-hectare nursery with about 250 hired workers, is touted to be the biggest among the jatropha nurseries set up by the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) in military camps all over the country, in order to spearhead the accelerated propagation, utilization and commercialization of alternative fuels in the country.

PNOC-AFC Chairman Renato Velasco has been "silently but surely" working, going all over the country in order to advocate the production of jatropha. Early this year, he obliged an invitation in Basey, Samar where the entire community has been mobilized in order to product more jatropha seedlings in their own backyards and in the 13 hectares land under the partnership of the LGU-DENR management.

In San Roque, Northern Samar, a Korean Company has started jatropha production and invested so much in order to accelerate jatropha production in this part of the country.

Worth mentioning is the fact that several local government units have already identified portions of government lands for jatropha production and have laid out road maps for jatropha production.

The bright future of the jatropha biodiesel is boosted by the fact that government agencies and government owned and controlled corporations along with government financial agencies are all lending a hand to make way for the rising of the jatropha biodiesel.

For one, the Landbank of the Philippines has announced last year that it has set aside P10 billion for jatropha production involving 200,000 hectares of land in Mindanao.

Financing will be made available to farmer groups through rural banks as loan conduits and possibly through Land Bank accredited cooperatives.

This is further enhanced by the previous announcements of PNOC-AFC Board Chairman Renato S. Velasco that PNOC-AFC will soon establish mobile refineries to process extracted or crude jatropha oil.

With a little more push from all the concerned sectors and with a little more cooperation and support from everybody, the Arroyo Administration's energy-independence agenda which hopes to make the country 60-percent energy self-sufficient by 2010, will be achieved. (PIA 8) [top]

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