The Biofuels Act of 2006 has become a model for other countries to emulate, as the Philippines is so far the country with the most "decisive" mandate on the use of biofuels in the world, according to findings at a recent international conference.
According to an executive summary on the recently concluded Bioenergy Forum 2008 in Bangkok, the Philippines is at the forefront of biofuels development and use in the world.
There were 94 delegates who attended the conference, including researchers, government policy makers, biofuels stakeholders, oil company officials, agronomists and academicians from the United States, United Kingdom, Austria, New Zealand, France, Taiwan, India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
"While other Asian countries have been unclear with their policies on how to promote their national biofuels policy, the Philippines has been the model for its decisive mandate on the use of coco-biodiesel and fuel-ethanol, through Republic Act 9367, also known as the Biofuels Act of 2006," the conference brief said.
"It is important to note that the Philippine Biofuels Act was crafted so that the feedstocks needed for biofuel production will not compete with the demands for food," it added.
At present, local biodiesel manufacturers are able to meet the mandated one-percent biodiesel blend without having to clear new land for planting coconut trees.
Coconut oil used as biodiesel feedstock is derived from existing farmlands.
The conference mainly discussed concerns in the United States and Europe on how increasing biofuels production was threatening global food supply, and how renewable fuels could be produced without sacrificing food security.
It was determined during the conference that biofuels production was not the main culprit behind the increase in food prices, particularly in the United States and Europe.
"The panel concluded that the rise in food prices, particularly grains, vegetable oils, wheat and rice, cannot be attributed to the production of biofuels alone," the executive summary said. "These were compounded by more influential factors."
These factors included market speculation, changing weather patterns, rapid economic growth of China and India, government controls on food products, and general increase in food consumption worldwide.
"Generally, the demand for food outgrew the supply, and this has strained the supply, hence the much higher prices brought by shortages," the conference summary said.
"Again, the influence of biofuels is not the only factor. It was just a contributor."