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Heherson Alvarez and organic farming


09:55 PM February 18th, 2013

By: Ramon Tulfo, February 18th, 2013 09:55 PM

I read with interest former Sen. Heherson Alvarez’s article in the Inquirer’s Commentary column on Saturday about climate change and steps the government is doing to address the problem.

Even when he was still senator and secretary of environment and natural resources, Alvarez was at the forefront of the campaign to reduce air pollution to offset the effects of climate change.

One of the adverse effects of climate change was super typhoon “Pablo” that wrought havoc in the once storm-free Mindanao late last year.

“A notable (government) program concerns national greening. It targets the planting of 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of degraded or denuded areas during the period 2011-2016,” Alvarez wrote.

If the project is done in earnest, the next generations of Filipinos will see thick forest covers in our mountains that  used to be denuded.

There will be less floods and landslides as the roots of trees in the mountains will absorb the water during heavy downpour.

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What also caught my attention was the former environment and natural resources chief’s mention of organic fertilizer in rice production.

“Locked for decades in a chemical production system, we have become a rice-importing nation, although rice is our main staple. It is a vast opportunity for organic fertilizer development,” said Alvarez.

I am now personally involved in the propagation of organic fertilizer and pesticide in vegetable farming, my humble contribution to a green environment.

My farm in Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province has become a demonstration farm for vegetable farming using organic fertilizer and pesticide.

The demonstration farm project is a joint undertaking of the Department of Agriculture and the Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Vendors Association (Vieva), a private entity.

I have opened my farm to people who wish to learn to grow vegetables through organic farming.

Thank you, Mr. Alvarez, for making a pitch for organic farming that does away with toxic chemicals.

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However, I disagree with Alvarez in his proposal to modify the diesel-run engines of some 500,000 Metro Manila vehicles by replacing these with new ones.

Diesel-run vehicles emit carbon dioxide from its engines causing 5,000 premature deaths due to air pollution, said Alvarez citing a World Bank study.

There’s no need to replace the diesel-fed engines of  public utility vehicles, as well as those privately owned.

There’s a product in the market that cleans up the engines and makes them lose 98 percent of black soot emissions: D-1280X.

Partas Bus Company, which uses D-1280X on its buses, is all praises for the product as all its buses now pass the emission tests conducted by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Pasang Masda, the country’s biggest association of jeepney operators and drivers, is currently testing D-1280X on its units.

A Pasang Masda official said the cause of  vehicle pollution is dirty fuel, not the engines.

Since we’re a Third World country, we are a dumping ground of dirty fuel, said the official who didn’t want to be named.

“Even if we change the engines, there will still be pollution,” he added.

Pasang Masda has found that jeepneys using D-1280X have considerably reduced carbon emission.

Alvarez may want to call Riza Lim at 0917-8436043 or 0927-3601336. Lim is a local executive of the company that distributes the United States-made product.

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