Congress Proposes to Import Molasses to Strengthen Bioethanol Industry

Cherryl Anne Cruz

The House of Representatives, led by former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, met up with Special Committee on Visayas Development and the Committee on Energy headed by Reps. Melecio Yap Jr. and Carlos Roman Uybarreta (Party-list, 1-CARE) to express their approval in the implementation of molasses to bolster the bio-ethanol industry in the country.

Molasses, which is a by-product of raw sugar making and used as cattle feed supplement or baking product, is a key component in converting bio-ethanol before they are exported and sold. Their fermentable sugars create ethanol–a bio-fuel additive for gasoline.

The proposal of the bio-ethanol producers is to allow the importation of molasses to be converted to bio-ethanol and other products for export to enable them to be financially viable.

First in Southeast Asia

If the move to import molasses is approved into law, then the Philippines will be the first country to accept the bio-ethanol industry in Southeast Asia,

“[We] would like to help you and make the appropriate policy that will make a pioneering industry continue to exist. We’re very proud that we are the very first in Southeast Asia to adopt the bio-ethanol industry…In fact, one of the reasons why I visited you was that I was very happy to find out that you’re still around and you have expanded,” Speaker Arroyo said.

Alternative to Crude Oil

During her presidential term, Speaker Arroyo signed the Republic Act No. 9367 or the ‘Biofuels Act of 2006′ to encourage the use of biofuels as an alternative to crude oil. It also aimed to strengthen the biofuel program industry. The law mandates that only molasses produced locally for bio-ethanol should be sold for the local market.

Assistant Secretary Leionido Pulido III of the Department of Energy and Department Manager III of the Planning, Policy and Special Projects Department of the Sugar Regulatory Administration Engr. Rosemarie Gumera said that there are no legal obstructions as long as the bioethanol by-products “are exported.”

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