The chairman of the Senate Energy Committee urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to study the proposal to increase biofuel content in diesel to ease the oversupply of local copra on Tuesday.
In a statement, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the National Biofuels Board (NBB) should craft a policy that will bolster the growth of local biodiesel production.
“Bottom line is, let’s convene the Biofuels Board and let’s come up with an action plan. The last time you convened [the NBB] is Q2, pero walang aksyon na lumabas (but there is still no action taken),” Gatchalian said.
“These issues have been there for a long, long time already. Iyan ang plead ng mga farmers two years ago, hanggang ngayon, iyan pa rin ang plead ng mga farmers right now (That was the farmers’ plead two years ago, and that’s still their plead right now). We need to address these issues,” he added.
In a recent budget hearing at the Senate, the energy department reported that a technical working group is already studying the feedstock and pricing problems that continue to plague the biofuels industry.
According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the projected coconut harvest for this year to satisfy the proposed 5 percent biodiesel blend is 1.5 billion nuts.
“Again, I urge the department to convene the NBB and then come up with an action plan. Then we will also convene the oversight so that we can already push for reforms and push for actions,” he said.
The lawmaker cited a study estimating that there would be a 1.09 percent increase, equivalent to PHP0.56, in the per liter pump price of biodiesel, if the biofuel content in diesel is increased from B2 to B5.
He noted that an ordinary jeepney driver, who uses around 15 liters of diesel per day, will be expected to shell out an additional PHP250.76 per month if the blend is increased. (PNA)