Thursday, May 3, 2007

Politics Killed Coco Diesel

While California has been very conducive to bio fuel producers thanks in part to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, can the same be done in the Philippines?

By: Vanessa Uy

Various transport unions and interest groups here in the Philippines are telling public transport drivers not to use coco diesel because they are no more than just a public relations campaign by unscrupulous politicians. The various interest groups also cite the reasons not to use coco diesel is that manufacturers contribute very little to the local economy and they are not alleviating our growing unemployment problem. These “crony coco diesel plants” might just as well be a good place to launder ill- gotten pork barrel funds of corrupt government officials.

Coco diesel manufacture is not new here in the Philippines. Back in the early 1990’s, feasibility studies are done on the large- scale manufacture of coco diesel. Although projects like these are well backed by altruistic aims, in truth they are undertaken in the behest of influential politicians as a public relations stunt to appease visiting dignitaries especially ones from the IMF or the International Monetary Fund.

I hope that during election season, environmental concerns should not be taken lightly when we decide for the betterment of our country. Or are the majority of our politicians already under the control of multinational petroleum companies. Do these politicians would rather maintain the status quo, than to legislate laws that would genuinely help bio fuel manufacturers and to grant these manufacturers a much needed tax brake to make bio fuels fiscally competitive with petroleum derived fuels. That’s why I’m currently reluctant to nominate any bio fuel manufacturer here in the Philippines to that Shell sponsored World Challenge program unless these companies exercise transparency in their dealings.

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