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Fuel retailers support move to suspend ethanol blending

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PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

THE Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA) on Monday said it supports the possible suspension of bioethanol blending with gasoline products for the production of much needed rubbing alcohol.

Last week, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi disclosed in an ANC interview that the Department of Energy is considering diverting the local biofuel production into the creation of ethyl alcohol.

“Now we need alcohol to disinfect and we are short of alcohol,” Mr. Cusi said.

Asked for their position on this, IPPCA said: “The Association believes that diverting it [biofuels] to ethyl alcohol, or even as alcohol beverage, will be more beneficial for the economy.”

Currently, the Philippines mandates a mixing of 10% bioethanol on all gasoline products sold across the country through Republic Act No. 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006.

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Since oil prices are low, the Energy secretary said that refiners can just use 100% gasoline and that bioethanol will be used for producing ethyl alcohol instead.

“Let’s use the ethanol to produce alcohol and since the price of oil is low, we can use 100% gasoline,” he said.

“We can suspend biofuel [blending], but there is a law. So, we need to make some amendments, and we are preparing for that,” he added.

Mr. Cusi might be referring to the Biofuels Act, but he did not respond to a request for clarification as of press time.

Among provisions, the law prohibits the “diversion of biofuels, whether locally produced or imported, to purposes other than those envisioned in the Act.”

The IPPCA has been pushing to scrap ethanol blending as it was deemed unnecessary now given the higher grade of gasoline being implemented in the country. — Adam J. Ang

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