Cheaper gasoline
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2019 - 12:00am

We can easily have gasoline that costs cheaper by 2 to 4 pesos per liter by simply removing ethanol from the gasoline sold at gas stations!

This was the revelation made by Chairman Sergio Ortiz Luis of the Philippine Confederation of Exporters when he recently guested on our show AGENDA on Cignal TV. He pointed out that while everybody is talking about excise tax and foreign prices, no one has ever thought about revisiting the law that requires petroleum companies to infuse or blend Ethanol to their standard “gasoline.” In addition, he pointed out that the basis or spirit of the law has turned out to be flawed or far from the intention. To begin with the “ethanol law” was meant to promote agricultural and commercial production of “grains” or plants that produce ethanol. This is generally corn and at one point some supporters said cassava also had potential. The law would then lead to prosperity for corn farmers who would become millionaires in no time. To further sugarcoat the law, the proponents even claimed that it would vastly improve air quality in support of the Clean Air Act.

Unfortunately, none of that happened. From what I’ve heard in the past we have never produced enough corn or ethanol in the Philippines. Fact of the matter is, corn is so short in supply that feed millers opt to import their corn for two reasons: imported corn is cheaper and is drier or has less water content because they are generally industrially dried instead of being dried in the open such as the national highways of the Philippines. In effect, the so-called expected boom never happened and we still have no corn farming millionaires. What we do have are millionaire importers of ethanol. As for helping improve the air quality, the Philippines cocktail of gasoline and ethanol can’t possibly match the EURO 4 or EURO 5 fuel standards that have become more popular among motorists because many suspect that the Ethanol concoction is the culprit behind numerous problems that beset modern vehicles.

If consumers can save 2 to 4 pesos per liter by simply removing the law protecting ethanol merchants, then it is well worth the time and effort of the Department of Energy and Congress to investigate if the Spirit of the Law was actually achieved or if we can be spared the unnecessary cost that is nothing more than the failed attempt of a corporation in Mindanao to cash in on the potential of Ethanol that never took off except to line their pockets.

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If you’ve ever been to Subic Bay or SBMA and have found yourself wishing to be in a private beach at a great hotel, then allow me to share a pleasant experience that came our way last New Year’s Day when we were invited by friends to join them at ACEA Subic Bay. For the longest time I have been going to Subic or SBMA, the only beaches I knew of were usually “public beaches” that meant big crowds and facilities that were meant for day trippers or budget tourists. I never realized that beyond the tree line past the airport was a luxury resort that had its own private beach, stunning views from the elevated restaurant, a fitness center, children’s water playground, an infinity swimming pool and what I liked the most were well appointed bedrooms and bathrooms where I could simply relax and read a book or sleep.

If you’re not into spending time in the room, their restaurant will certainly give you a place to either eat and talk or work at the bar type tables designed with USB and Ac power ports. The resort was recently placed under professional management and from the looks of it the staff they have are on the ball and sharpening their skills to give guests their 100% attention. Do book in advance because we almost did not get a room over New Year’s day.

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If you want to know what it looks like to see a person dying from Rabies, the movie The Walking Dead will certainly give you a glimpse. But whatever you do be careful about animal bites in the Philippines because you will almost surely be bitten twice: once by an animal and next in all probability by a doctor who bites into your wallet using an extra dose of paranoia!

I don’t know if its paranoia or a prevalent scam but for some strange reason, if you get bit by an animal usually a dog or a cat, you will almost surely be required to undergo 5 shots of “anti-rabies” vaccine and 1 shot of the rabies immunoglobulin. Some vets and more conservative physicians I’ve talked to all suggest that you should first check if the animal has a vaccination record (which should be required by law for all pet owners). If the animal’s rabies vaccination is up to date, that reduces the probability of being infected with rabies. My veterinarian friends recommend that the animal involved should be placed in a cage or under confinement for observation and to protect others. According to the anti rabies leaflet I got, you can discontinue injections if the dog or animal is still in good health after 10 to 14 days. These two simple steps would immediately do away with the thousands of unnecessary “injections” being given to every bite victim.

The reason we should introduce more restrain on the automatic 5 injections for every bite is because it is unnecessary in many cases and because it causes an artificial shortage of vaccine not to mention an apparent price manipulation or overpricing of the vaccine. If you go to a private facility to get anti rabies shots it costs P2,500 per shot or P12,500 for 5. If you buy at Mercury it costs P1,600 per vial if they have stock and if you go to a government hospital it generally costs P900, but chances are they don’t have them on stock! The additional Rabies immunoglobulin costs P1,500 per vial approximately 1 vial for every 20 kilos (just an estimate). The worst thing of all is no one carries a complete stock!

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