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PIA Press Release

Gov't projects P1.3-B savings with biofuels

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (23 January) -- The government projects a savings of $26-million or about P1.3-billion worth of fuel imports with the initial implementation of the 2006 Biofuels Act.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed into law in January 11, 1007 Republic Act 9637 or the Biofuels Act, which requires vehicle manufacturers and owners as well as oil companies to use fuels diluted with sugar or starch-derived alcohol to reduce the country's dependence on imported fuel and promote cleaner air.

Some ASEAN countries such as Malaysia have started working to commercially produce alternative fuels such as biodiesel, comprising mainly palm oil and ethanol made from the sap of nipa trees.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Using renewal raw materials to produce fuels is aimed ar reducing the world's dependence on dwindling stores of fossil fuels such as crude oil and coal.

Biofuels also produce lower amounts of harmful greenhouse gasers that contribute to global warming compared to traditional fuel sources.

President Macapagal-Arroyo said that with the enactment of the Biofuels Act, the country is expected to lessen its dependence on imported fuel and achieve energy independence.

The Philippines is importing 30 percent of its fuel requirements. The new law requires minimum one percent of biofuel to be blended with diesel within the first year of its effectivity, a percentage that will be raised to four to give percent within two years.

The law also mandates the blending of bio-ethanol in gasoline sold locally. It also provides tax exemptions, financial assistance and other incentives to encourage investments in the biofuels industry.

Besides generating huge savings for the country, the Biofuels Act is also expected to lead to the reduction of the pollution caused by fossil fuel emissions.

In the event that the Biofuel Act is passed, P29-billion of foreign exchange savings will be realized as a result of 657 million liters of biofuels to substitute imported diesel and gasoline products, said Energy USEC Mariano Salazar. (PIA XI) [top]

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