Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

President GMA inspects jatropha initiative in GenSan

President Gloria M. Arroyo on Monday visited a plantation in Barangay Apopong of jatropha curcas under a joint program of state-owned PNOC Alternative Fuels Corp (PNOC AFC) and Jubilee Agri-Advancement Corp (JAC).

In a briefing for the President, PNOC-AFC chairman Renato S. Velasco said that this city and Sarangani province have at least 172,500 hectares more available for expanded production of this industrial crop. Mr. Velasco said this city, which already has a developed jatropha plantation area of 140.57 hectares, may expand up to 10,000 hectares. He said Sarangani’s current Jatropha plantation area of 238.36 hectares may be expanded up to 162,500 hectares.

"These are among our priority production areas for jatropha and, eventually, its end-product: biofuels," he told the Ms. Arroyo, who was joined by Press Secretary Jesus Dureza and local officials led by South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Darlene Custodio and City Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr.

After the briefing, she inspected the jatropha nursery facility and observed several workers harvesting Jatropha seeds.

Jessehan P. Pia, PNOC AFC legal counsel, said in an interview that there are plans next year to build a biofuel refinery in partnership with foreign investors.

The state-owned company hopes to establish a trading center and crushing plant for every 5,000 hectares of jatropha plantation in contiguous areas, she added.

After signing Republic Act 9367, or the Biofuels Act of 2006 last January, Ms. Arroyo directed PNOC-AFC to spearhead the biofuels production.

Last Feb. 7, the PNOC-AFC and JAC signed a memorandum of agreement on the establishment of a 500-hectare jatropha orchard here and nearby Sarangani for seedlings propagation and seed production to supply the requirements of jatropha plantations in the area.

JAC, in partnership with farmers, has already planted some 783 hectares with jatropha in General Santos City, capable of producing one ton of jatropha seeds per week.

Last July 3, the PNOC-AFC and Landan People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a private independent pineapple growers’ cooperative of Dole Philippines based in Polomolok, South Cotabato, also signed an agreement to plant jatropha on 5,000 hectares of marginal, idle and unproductive lands in the area.

Korean biodiesel producer Eco-Global has also expressed interest to establish commercial-scale jatropha nursery-cum-plantations in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sararangani and General Santos. — (BusinessWorld)

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