Marcos orders DA to probe illegal sale of palm olein

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday ordered the Department of Agriculture (DA) to investigate the illegal use of palm olein in fuel blending.

The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) said Marcos’ order came after its chairman Jesus Arranza informed the Office of the President about the illegal use of palm olein as a blending agent.

Under the Department of Energy rules, only coconut oil can be blended with diesel to produce biodiesel. According to the FPI, palm olein is supposed to be used as an additive to produce animal feeds.

“The Presidential Management Staff, in a correspondence to Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban, told the department to evaluate and take appropriate action on the issues discussed by [FPI chair Jesus Arranza] in his letter to the President,” the FPI said in a statement.

According to Arranza, the government is losing billions of pesos in revenues because “a big portion of the imported palm olein is being diverted for sale to either producers of biodiesel as an additive to diesel fuel and to the retail market (public markets, groceries, supermarkets and sari-sari stores) as cooking oil for eventual sale to the consuming public.”

Since coconut oil is more expensive than palm olein, Arranza said importers “are getting another windfall of cash from substituting coconut oil with palm olein” in producing biofuels.

Arranza also sent letters to the Senate and the House of Representatives to request the chambers of Congress to investigate the illegal sale of palm olein.

According to the FPI, the inquiry will also help protect the nation's coconut industry as palm olein directly competes with coconut oil.