Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the National Biofuels Board (NBB) had approved the proposal of the DOLE to collect seven centavos (P0.07) per liter of molasses-based bioethanol from producers under the Social Amelioration and Welfare Program (SAWP) pursuant to Republic Act No. 9367, or the Biofuels Act.
“This is good news for bio-ethanol distillery workers. The amount, to be held by the DOLE in trust, will be for socio-economic projects of bio-ethanol distillery workers and their dependents. They will have something to look forward to in case they would like to engage in livelihood to support their incomes from work,” said Baldoz after Undersecretary for Social Protection Ciriaco Lagunzad reported the approval of the proposal.
Citing Undersecretary Lagunzad’s report, Baldoz said NBB approved the DOLE proposal the other day, with the amount estimated by the Sugar Regulatory Administration, or SRA, to run to P2.5 million annually.
“Based on production capacity, about P2.5 million will be collected from bioethanol producers that use molasses as feedstock. The proposed implementing guidelines provides that the producers will remit their SAWP lien payment to a DOLE trust account with the Land Bank of the Philippines. This amount will be used to implement socio-economic projects to benefit bioethanol distillery workers and their dependents,” Baldoz said.
She explained that initial project proposals to be funded out of the SAWP are livelihood assistance, training and education, social protection and welfare benefits, and emergency assistance.
“All these will be up for discussion by the Tripartite Consultative Council for Bioethanol Sector and for final approval of the DOLE Secretary. The BWSC will prepare and submit the draft implementing guidelines for consideration of the Secretary once the NBB certificate or resolution is signed and received,” she said.
As of 28 February 2015, the total SAWP fund deposited in the DOLE-LBP trust account is P20,962,094.11. Of this amount, P15,073,378.63 were collected for bio-diesel workers and P5,852,715.48 for sugarcane-based bioethanol workers.