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PIA Press Release

President shifts into high gear alternative fuel energy program

Manila (17 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced that the government is now ready to shift into high gear its bio-fuel energy program as the first step to end the country's dependency to imported crude oil.

She made the announcement at the Forum on Alternative Fuel for Public Transport at the Hall A and B of the Philippine Trade and Training Center (PTTC) in Pasay City.

The President said she will inspect starting July 21 the 1,800 hectares in different parts of the country planted to jatropha under the government's jatropha propagation program.

To date, 900 hectares have been planted to jatropha in Tamlang Valley in Negros Oriental, 500 hectares in Fort Magsasay, Nueva Ecija, 200 hectares in Camarines Sur, 100 hectares in General Santos City, 60 hectares in Ara, Palawan, 40 hectares in Cagayan de Oro City, 14 hectares in Bohol, and five hectares in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.

The President said that because of the energy efficiency programs initiated by her administration, the country is now 56 percent energy self-sufficient, the highest energy self-sufficiency rating in its history.

She said that aside from alternative sources of fuel, the government will continue to promote the use of natural gas for transport; geothermal steam, wind mills like those already operational in Batanes and Bangui, Ilocos Sur, and solar power for electricity.

"Let me assure our people of one thing, your government shall continue to harness all the resources at our command to help ordinary Filipino families pressured by cost and calamity at the same time. We continue to build a better tomorrow," she told drivers and operators of the public transport sector.

In the same speech, the President said the national government will continue to push its Pantawid Kuryente Program as the nation continued to reap the blessings of the "Katas mula sa VAT" (Value Added Tax).

"Sa susunod na Katas ng VAT na nakolekta mula Abril hanggang Hulyo, may karagdagang P1 billion na pambayad ng kuryente ng mahihirap," she said.

The Pantawid Kuryente: Katas ng VAT program, which the President launched on June 3, 2008, is a direct assistance program to the four million poor families that consume only a maximum of 100 kilowatt hour of electricity a month.

The President also divulged that that she would release shortly another P500 million to finance the rehabilitation and upgrading of all government primary hospitals to secondary medical facilities.

"Ilulunsad natin (ito) upang mapataas ang kakayahan at kasangkapan ng mga munting ospital sa lalawigan, iyon bang primary care hospitals gagawin nating secondary care hospitals para magkaroon sila ng delivery, cesarean at surgery facilities," she said.

The forum on alternative fuel for public transport is a followup project of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to the program launched last month by the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on the shifting from diesel fueled engines to liquefied petroleum gas (LGP) and compressed natural gas (CNG) public utility vehicles. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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