Proposed hike in biodiesel blend seen to boost coconut industry

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 August)— The proposed increase in biodiesel blend to five percent from two percent as mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2006 is seen to help the growth of the coconut industry, said Carlos Carpio, deputy administrator for Research Development and Extension of the Philippine Coconut Authority during a public consultation at the Royal Mandaya Hotel here on Friday.

Zenaida Monsada, Department of Energy (DOE) director for the Oil Industry Management Bureau, said in an interview that one of the main objectives of the proposal is to substitute imported diesel with local products, specifically the Coconut Methyl Ester (CME) or coco-biodiesel.

Carpio said that if the plan pushes through, it would result to higher demand for coconut.

“It would then provide bigger production and income for coconut planters, farmers and traders,” he said.

Another objective in increasing the biodiesel blend, Monsada said, is to improve the local economy. “This could also bring increased job opportunities for people in the countryside,” she said.

She also mentioned that the proposed blend increase could potentially result to pollution reduction.

“It will lessen air pollution since vehicles would emit less greenhouse gases,” Monsada added, noting that the increased percentage of biofuel, being a natural substance, would “provide for cleaner emission in vehicles.”

Monsada also said that it could greatly help the economy since there would be reduced demand for imported diesel.

But Monsada said there are still things to consider before the National Biofuels Board, the interagency group tasked to monitor and implement the National Biofuels Program, could push through with the mandatory increase.

“It would be unfair if it would only benefit one industry but be detrimental to others. We need to look at the farmers but we also need to look at the whole economy,” she said, noting that they deem it important to conduct consultations with the different sectors.

After the first public consultation in Davao, the DOE plans to conduct a series of consultations in Leyte, Cebu, Metro Manila and Southern Luzon. (Florienne Melendrez/MindaNews)