Energy chairman vows to calendar review of Biofuels Act of 2006

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Mar. 22 (PNA) — House committee on Energy chairman Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali on Saturday vowed that he will calendar a resolution calling for the review on the performance and impact assessment of the Biofuels Act of 2006 and the development of alternative sources of biofuels in light of claims that biofuel development is detrimental to food security.

AAMBIS OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin sought the inquiry through House Resolution 400, saying there is an emergent consensus from eminent scientists, scholars and international organizations that biofuel development is detrimental to food security.

“The emergent consensus is that biofuel development is threatening the availability and supply stability of food due to diversion of land and other resources from food production to biofuel expansion,” said Garin in her resolution.

The vice chairperson of the House committee on ways and means said the intents and purposes of the Biofuels Program are commendable and essential while the government need to put equal premium on food security.

She said that in pursuit of balancing the interests of food security and biofuels development, it is practical and judicious to conduct a thorough research and development on other indigenous biofuel sources.

“Amidst issues raised against the Biofuels Program, it is high time to conduct a process evaluation of the Biofuels Act of 2006 to determine its performance and impact vis-à-vis the goals set forth in the law’s declaration of policy,” Garin said.

According to her, studies have surfaced, stating there are many other plants, shrubs, trees, agricultural wastes and residues that could be developed for biofuels expansion, apart from the biomass feedstock currently used in biofuel development.

She said it is the National Biofuels Board (NBB), which is tasked to oversee the implementation and monitoring of the Biofuels Program and the evaluation for future expansion.

“The NBB is also empowered to determine the feasibility of mandating a minimum of 10 percent blend of bioethanol by volume into all gasoline fuel distributed and sold by each and every oil company in the country within four years from the effectivity of the Biofuels Act of 2006, and, thereafter, recommend the same to the Department of Energy (DOE) for implementation,” Garin pointed out.

She said in adherence to the State policy to reduce dependence on imported fuels in consideration of public health, environment and sustainable economic growth, Republic Act 9367, otherwise known as the Biofuels Act 2006, was enacted into law.

The Biofuels Act of 2006 mandates a minimum one percent biodiesel blend and five percent bioethanol blend by volume in all diesel and gasoline fuels, respectively, being distributed and sold in the country.

“Alternative fuel sources are extracted from organic materials such as corn, sugar, cassava, sweet sorghum, molasses, potatoes, soybean, rapeseed, canola, sunflower, jatropha, olive, palm, and cellulosic materials,” Garin stressed. (PNA)