PNOC-AFC Head Lauds Basey, Samar for Initiating Jatropha Farming
Tacloban City-Philippine National Oil Company-Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC) Chairman Renato S. Velasco, Ph.D. has commended the people of Basey, Samar for their collective efforts to jumpstart jatropha planting in Eastern Visayas.
He visited the municipality of Basey in Samar to grace the First General Assembly of The Baktas Kabud’wason Association, an organization of Basaynons pushing for jatropha cultivation. He said that the group is one of the most organized in the Visayas, and that 50 barangays of Basey are now planting jatropha.
“Basey now has some 71,424 shrubs planted in 28,000 hectares, distributed in 32 out of its 51 barangays,” says Teodorico D. Porbus, Baktas Kabud’wason Association president.
“The use of alternative fuel sources like jatropha is being promoted as a solution to three of the problems of the country,” Dr. Velasco said in an interview with Tacloban-based DYVL Aksyon Radyo. “First, it is seen as a solution to the ever-increasing [price] of fuel, which is being imported abroad.”
The second reason, he continues, is global warming. This is attributed to the smoke emitted by diesel-fed vehicles and thus, the use of biodiesel will eliminate these air pollutants. And the third reason, he says, is that the use of jatropha and other alternative fuels will provide people with employment opportunities because jatropha farming is labor-intensive. In this light, he calls on local government units and farmers in Region 8 to utilize idle lands for jatropha production