NEGROS ISLAND - A bilateral investment and trade meeting held between the Philippine and Chinese chambers of commerce resulted in the island state attracting several ethanol investments from its giant neighbor, a report by the Brussels-based Biopact.com said.
It said President Gloria Arroyo was trying to attract foreign investments in the sector and that after months of vivid debates, the Philippines recently finalized its bio-fuels legislation.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the Philippines and China will sign two memoranda of understanding and a memorandum of agreement on the setting up of three ethanol fuel plants in the country, which will involve the development of thousands of hectares of land for sugar cane.
Earlier research indicated that the island state has considerable potential to develop a sugar cane based bio-energy industry large enough to export fuels.
The MOUs, Biopact says, will cover the construction of two ethanol plants in Negros Island in the central Philippines (maximum output capacity of respectively 120,000 and 150,000 liters per day) will be entered into by the Philippine government and the China Machines Engineering Corp. Some 10,000 to 12,000 hectares of land will be developed for the projects.
Meanwhile, the MOA seeks to construct a 150,000-liter a day ethanol plant in Zamboanga del Norte province in the southern Philippines, Yap said.
The MOU's on ethanol investments and cooperation are part of a larger package consisting of 10 agreements, covering a range of sectors, from mining, tourism and fisheries to culture and banking. Between 2001 and 2005, Philippine trade with China grew at an annual rate of 41.9 percent.
The Philippines-Chinese agreements signal a continued drive towards greater South-South exchanges in the bio-energy sector. The Biopact is connective of European and African citizens who strive towards the establishment of a mutually beneficial 'energy relationship' based on bio-fuels and bio-energy.
For the time being, Biopact is an entirely volunteer effort, but the young organization is working towards formalization under a non-profit structure because of growing interest in its activities and its vision. (Mindanao Examiner)