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PIA Press Release

PGMA's alternative fuel program gets support from Negros tuba-tuba farms

DUMAGUETE CITY (30 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's thrust to make the country independent from imported crude oil got its much needed support from the province of Negros Oriental's development of jatropha plantations.

At the same time, the development of jatropha plantations would have also created new jobs in the countryside, another thrust of the President to improve the lives of the people.

Upon her arrival here at noon yesterday, the President was given a briefing by former Negros Oriental Rep. Herminio Teves on the Tamlang Valley Jatropha Plantation where some 50,000 hectares of private land are being planted to jatropha beginning last July, in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Jatropha or locally known as tuba-tuba is a very rich source of biodiesel.

The jatropha plantation covers the towns of Siaton, Sta. Catalina, Sibulan and Pamplona while the jatropha oil extraction mill and turbine generator designed by Vyncho Company of Belgium and fabricated in China would be set up in the town of Siaton, Teves said.

The plant would be operational by 2009 for a 25,000-hectare plantation, six days per week operation, 47 weeks a year.

Teves informed the President that the power generator would be able to produce some 20 MW power in two years or by 2009.

To this, the President said that this would fill up a part of the 100 MW power gap in the Visayas by 2009.

The President also stressed the importance of the mill and turbine generator as well as the construction of farm-to-market roads in the area, thus she instructed Teves to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture (DA) so the agency could allocate the funds.

So far, of the targeted area for jatropha plantation in the province, some 391 hectares have already been planted to about 800,000 jatropha plants.

Teves said it takes two years for a jatropha plant to yield seeds that could be extracted for oil.

The endeavor so far has created 302 jobs for the residents of Tamlang Valley.

Negros Oriental has been in the forefront in complementing the government's efforts for energy sufficiency specifically in geothermal and biofuels (alternative fuels from jatropha and sugarcane) where the province is rich in these resources.

The President was scheduled to conduct an aerial inspection of the jatropha plantation but not so favorable weather prevented her to see the Tamlang Valley jatropha plantation. (OPS/PIA) [top]

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