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PIA Press Release

FVR: Local energy sources as option to address oil crisis

by Jennifer Catan-Tilos

Dumaguete City (29 August) -- Former President Fidel V. Ramos is not keen to have an oil reserve in the Philippines but rather to be self-sufficient with the use of the country's vast energy resources.

In a press conference held at Silliman University (SU) yesterday, Fidel Ramos said that with the world oil prices continue to soar, mass poverty is affected due to high price of prime commodities.

Ramos has proposed several measures to lessen the country's dependence on imported fuel that include the use of alternative sources of energy. He cited Palinpinon Geothermal Plant in Valencia, Negros Oriental in the country is now the world's second largest producer of geothermal energy for power generation.

Fidel Ramos is the inaugural lecturer of Silliman's Annual Eminent Persons Lecture Series program on the challenges and development prospects of the Filipino people during the SU's 107th Founder'S Day Anniversary.

The Philippines is currently produces biodiesel from coconut oil and is expanding jatropha production. While ethanol feedstocks used or being considered include sugarcane, corn, cassava, and nipa.

Like this, Ramos stressed to plant more coconuts and jathropa, locally known as "tuba-tuba," which produces bio-diesel.

In Negros Oriental alone a total of 18,000 hectares have been identified as possible areas for the planting of Jathropa, of the number, 500 hectares are located in Valencia, and the rest are distributed in different areas within the 13,000 hectare-reservation area of the Philippine National Oil Company from Dauin to Amlan.

Ramos said, other local alternative sources energy include sugarcane and coconut which Negros Island has its own plantations, for conversion to ethanol and cocodiesel, respectively. While biomass-based energy solutions show that integrating the collection and supply of sugarcane for sugar production and cane residue as fuel for energy production is an ideal method of utilizing cheap and widely available fuel resources for bagasse cogeneration projects, Ramos cited.

Thus, the former president said that the picture of oil crisis in the Philippine is not that bad.

As Kuwaiti company earlier set up its business venture with $1.025- billion investment in the Philippines, which clearly showed the oil-rich country's "trust in our economy," President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said.

Keynoting the start of operations of the Kuwait Gulf and Link (KGL) Investment Company by developing a 167-hectare portion of the former US military base here, the President said the strong economic showing of the country in 2007, brought about by the "tough" fiscal reforms she implemented, has made the Philippines a favorable destination for investors.

She said her state visit to Kuwait in December last year was an opportune time for the country "to advance Philippine economic and investment opportunities with (Kuwaiti) business leaders." (PIA/JCT) [top]

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