Bohol Capitol Forms Team to Salvage Jatropha Project

PHILIPPINES – Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto has formed a team to try and salvage the multimillion-peso jatropha project which is the subject of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed between Bohol province under then Governor Erico Aumentado and the Philippine National Oil Company-Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC) last year.

In a nutshell, the MoA jointly signed by Aumentado and the PNOC-AFC in May, 2009, basically assured jobs for at least 24,000 farmhands in Bohol.

The original agreement was for the conversion of idle lands in the province into productive sources of green-fuel from an initial 3,000 hectares of land planted with jatropha curcas. Farmers working on the land would get P1.25 per plant and, as stipulated in the agreement, they would still own the fruit-bearing jatropha curcas (otherwise known in the local dialect as tuba-tuba) plant after eight years.

Said agreement also stipulated that Philippine National Oil Company would invest P23,000 per hectare as mobility fund to be utilized for sourcing planting materials, labor component and other needed inputs, according to Mb.com.ph.

According to sources, one of the provisions in the MOA called for the Philippine National Oil Company to buy jatropha from Bohol farmers in the next 25 years, taking into consideration escalation costs.

However, Governor Chatto said financial backers of the project were said to have backed-out for yet unclear reasons, prompting him to form a team that would review the contract and see what efforts the provincial government can initiate to salvage the multimillion-peso project that would clearly prove to be a huge boon to the province, if implemented.

The Bohol Governor said the team’s mandate includes conducting a thorough review of the contents of the MoA signed by his predecessor and Philippine National Oil Company-Alternative Fuels Corporation, identify the sites reforested with jatropha, and what the deliverables are of each signatory.

“We need to review the agreements so that we will have an idea on how to approach the problem and what solutions can be crafted,” Governor Chatto said.