Press Release
November 22, 2007

Pia calls for 'greening' of mass transport syste

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today urged more local government officials to support the "greening" of the mass transport system by promoting the use of public utility buses and jeeps that run on clean energy in their respective localities amid rising oil prices and growing concerns about carbon emission and climate change.

The lady senator also suggested the possibility of gradually requiring all government agencies to use "clean" service vehicles to help the government save on gasoline bills.

Cayetano made the call as she lauded Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay for pioneering the use of the electric jeep (e-jeep) in Metro Manila.

The e-jeep has also been deployed to serve public transport routes in Bacolod City in Negros Oriental, added the lady senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

"These initiatives should serve as models for other LGUs, especially in major cities and municipalities where air pollution is heaviest. We can implement the 'greening' of the mass transport system in stages by doing it one city, and one vehicle, at a time," she said.

The e-jeep program is an initiative of the Green Renewable Independent Power Producer Inc. (GRIPP) and the environmental group Greenpeace, in partnership with LGUs.

"LGUs can also consider putting up bicycle lanes which is successfully being implemented in Marikina City. This will encourage their constituents to just take the bicycle when going to work, school or other destinations. It's not only carbon-free, but also a healthy means of moving around," added Cayetano, herself a bicycle enthusiast.

She likewise called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to accelerate the deployment of more buses in the metropolis running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which is sourced from the country's own gas fields off Palawan.

"CNG is both clean and cheap. A liter reportedly costs P14.50, which is less than half the price of a liter of diesel and gasoline. CNG also does not emit toxic gases like fossil fuels. As we deploy more CNG buses, we save on foreign exchange for imported fuel and also get to save the environment," she explained.

Cayetano said the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Clean Air Act will convene to discuss measures to promote the use of clean and renewable energy sources once the House of Representatives officially appoints its officers and members to the joint legislative body.

For the public transport sector, she suggested the provision of tax and non-tax incentives for importers of spare parts and assemblers of e-jeeps and CNG vehicles as an initial step.

"Right now, e-jeeps are imported from China while CNG technology comes from the US, France and India. What we hope to do in the long term is to help develop our own clean technology industry as we reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels."

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