Monday, April 4, 2011

Angara encourages to patronize country’s cultural tourism instead of abroad

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 5, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara encourages the public to explore the Philippines’ cultural tourism sites instead of going abroad as the summer's vacation season reaches its peak this month, saying that the country has a rich cultural heritage, as well as abundant natural resources and rich biodiversity in the ecosystems aside from having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Angara added that our countrymen should have to patronize first the Philippines natural heritage where they can have plenty of options for vacation sites that are out of the ordinary, explaining that recent years have shown increased interest in cultural tours set in historical places to trace the footsteps of our forefathers which was reported also by the Department of Tourism.

“These tours mark important spots in the country's history, and also contribute to the movement to preserve historical and cultural sites that are slowly being destroyed due to negligence,” Angara said, who is the author of the National Cultural Heritage Bill which was signed into law last year.

The NCH bill seeks to protect locations that are essential to Philippine history, including buildings, landmarks, monument and shrines where he believes that supporting local tourism will boost the nation's economy.

Angara explained that local tourism increase would create jobs especially for those living in rural areas and would spur the creation and expansion of business establishments as positive impact to the country’s economy.

“Through patronizing the country’s richness in cultural heritage,  it would help our locals in their livelihood,” he said, adding that the country has a number of world heritage sites which were classified as cultural and natural, declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (Jason de Asis)

COMSTE supports expansion of research in the use of algae as biofuel

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 5, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) said that COMSTE is supporting the expansion of research and development (R&D) into the use of algae as a biofuel, explaining that more countries are developing the use of it; thus, the Philippines should continue to support research in this and other Renewable Energy (RE) sources.

“The US Airforce recently tested the F 22 Raptor, the most modern weapons system in the Airforce, flying on a 50/50 blend of biofuel. Continental Airlines has also been testing biofuel on a Boeing 737-800 passenger plane,” Angara noted, saying that the United Arab Emirates reported that algae use is now scalable and can become cheaper to produce than oil.

“COMSTE partners from Alson’s Aquaculture and the Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC) have been collaborating as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to study the use of algae as a biofuel,” Angara said, saying that initial experiments in the country demonstrate that the use of algae as a biofuel has high potential, and it can also be used as a carbon capture mechanism when coupled with coal-fired plants according to COMSTE. 

The AIC and Alsons teams, plus two other photo bio-reactor companies aim to study optimal conditions that will promote the growth of algae and the cleaning of coal fired plants by placing nearby aquaculture ponds.

In 2004, the Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Research in Wales reported that the algae biofuel industry had an estimated value of $700 million, and is continuing to grow.

To produce diesel, gasoline and even jet fuel, Angara said that the US based National Renewable Energy Laboratory is currently studying the most viable strains of algae that they can use as a renewable energy source.

To displace the fuel needs of the country, Dr. Catalino Blanche, a national program leader with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that the US is studying ways to develop algae as a biofuel, saying that  the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) study that algae can produce up to 1,200 - 10,000 gallons per acre.

“Mexico is developing a program that can potentially replace fossil fuels with biofuel blends which aims to produce 1% of the nation’s jet fuel from algae in less than five years,” Angara ended. (Jason de Asis)


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