Press Release
April 7, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara reiterated his call for the government to recognize that renewable energy (RE) is a viable long term solution that can end foreign oil dependency and lessen the impact of fossil fuel use on the environment.

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), made his statements after fuel prices rose again and news of an impending rise in electricity charges.

Oil prices are trading in Asia at $108 a barrel, the highest in over two years. Fueled by the crisis in Libya and concern that the unrest will spread, the prices are seen to keep rising.

Angara said that the government needs to wake up and end the era of fossil fuel dependency and invest heavily in the future of energy, which he says is in RE. He said that the commission has been working with industry and academe to promote the use of RE in the country.

He added that Executive Order 32, which will provide fuel subsidies to tricycle and jeepneys drivers, is a short term solution that does not address the bigger issue of oil dependency.

Angara also expressed his support for the new eco-jeepney program of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the initiative of Iloilo city, which recently launched an electric jeepney program.

He added that these programs would help complement the Green Transport initiative and electric vehicle programs of COMSTE, which would help ease the nation's dependence on oil.

Angara identified the development of electric vehicles and green transport as priority projects of the commission for 2011.

The Green Transport initiative and Electric Vehicle program, was conceptualized by COMSTE under RERDI and will be implemented in cooperation with the DOST and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP). The project will promote the development of new technology that can produce more efficient, low cost batteries and new electric vehicle design initiatives.

He noted that the development of an e-vehicle industry would help stimulate job growth in the new industry, which has the potential to grow into exports as countries like Taiwan and Korea, and even China have already expressed interest in the local electric vehicle industry.

Angara said that innovative Green transport systems such as electric tricycles, hybrid jeepneys, buses and electric bicycles have the potential to lessen pollution caused by conventional transportation.

The COMSTE model for Green Transport includes the use of renewable energy sources such as biofuels, like algae, which will be used to charge the batteries of electric, and hybrid vehicles, creating a sustainable, and cyclic green transportation system.

Angara highlighted the renewable energy initiatives like the establishment of the Renewable Energy Research and Development Institute (RERDI), which will be the medium for new technologies like developing algae as a biofuel, and the formation of a local solar testing facility.

"RERDI was conceptualized after studying Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which is essentially a PPP that conducts R&D for private sector growth. ITRI is one of the key factors why Taiwan was able to achieve economic success," noted Angara.

Taiwan's ITRI has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with COMSTE in February 2009, to aid in the development of RERDI, including technician training and tech transfer. COMSTE is also studying the Taiwanese blueprint for involving academe, industry and investors in developing Green Energy systems by utilizing their small and medium enterprises (SME's).

Supporting local e vehicle industry

Angara also urged the government to fast track the development of the electric vehicle industry by providing additional incentives and tax breaks for electric and hybrid manufacturers and importers.

He said that the government needs to support the young industry, which encourages local innovation and promotes eco-friendly transportation.

In a recent hearing at the senate concerning bills on hybrid and electric vehicles and on the granting of tax incentives for manufacturers and importers, Angara said that providing incentives would give consumers more reason to purchase and use the eco-friendly vehicles.

He noted that the development of an e-vehicle industry would help stimulate job growth in the new industry, which has the potential to grow into exports to the South East Asian market.

Angara noted that COMSTE has been working closely with the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) to lay out plans for developing e vehicle standards for the industry, a main driver in creating proper policies for the industry.

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