Bicameral body approves biofuels bill
Quezon City (24 November) -- THE bicameral conference committee on energy approved early Thursday morning a bill that makes the use of biofuels mandatory, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said.
"For me, this is the most exciting piece of legislation for this Congress because we'll be hitting two birds with one stone, cutting our umbilical cord of dependence on fossil fuel from the Middle East and at the same time cleaning the air that we breathe in this country," said Pimentel, who was assigned to chair the committee on behalf of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
The bill, one of those certified urgent by the administration, provides that "at least five percent bioethanol shall comprise the total volume of gasoline fuel actually sold and distributed in the country" and "a minimum of one percent biodiesel by volume shall be blended into all diesel engine fuels sold in the country."
Pimentel said the most contentious provision that caused much debate Wednesday night was the transition provision in the Senate version that specifies land use for sugarcane cultivation.
"The committee hammered out a compromise, simply reiterating the mandate of the Sugar Regulatory Administration to ensure an adequate supply of sugar for domestic use," the senator said.
Pimentel said the approved bill merely needs ratification by both chambers of Congress before being sent to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for signing into law. (PIA) [top]