Press Release
September 20, 2011

Switch to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) to dampen
need for transport strikes

Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday said one concrete solution to unbridled oil price increases is for government to gear up its promotion of alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) in public transport.

"We won't be having frequent transport strikes if only drivers and operators are earning enough with less cash going to their fuel tanks," Recto said, referring to the transport strike mounted by public utility drivers and operators last Monday, which stranded thousands of commuters.

"One clear solution is to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles for public transport," he added.

Recto said bills filed proposing such grand shift to a more sustainable and environment-friendly mode of transport should be declared as priority legislation by Malacanang.

He pointed out that with the public transport sector shifting to AFV units, "more money will go to the pockets of drivers and operators in terms of savings from fuel while there will be lower pollution costs and lower import bill for petroleum products."

Recto noted that the country imports an average of 300,000 barrels of crude oil daily while government spends around P880,000 to treat pollution related-diseases with one Filipino practically dying from dirty air every hour.

"Our national oil addiction should end with the mushrooming of AFVs," the senator said.

Recto said the government could likewise jumpstart the AFV revolution by helping transport sector secure cheap and long-term financing from multilateral agencies to fund the conversion of their vehicles to AFV or e-vehicles.

The senator earlier said the alternative is to shift to electric energy and other alternative fuel to rev up the engines of transport vehicles to finally end the country's overdependence on expensive oil.

"Other countries like Israel and China are already declaring freedom from petroleum dependence in the next three or four decades, we want to start the ball rolling by paving the way for a legislation that would fast track our shift to AFVs," Recto, chair of Senate ways and means, said.

Recto said his committee will report out next week to the plenary a consolidated measure that would roll out tax incentives to people or groups which will import, convert, manufacture or assemble the pioneering fleet of electric vehicles in the country, including hybrid and other motor vehicles using alternative fuel.

Electric Vehicle refers to any vehicle that uses electric motors; Hybrid Vehicle (HV) will refer to any vehicle that combines the technologies of using internal combustion engine (ICE) with a battery-powered electric motor while other Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) would be any vehicle using alternative sources of energy such as but not limited to: solar, wind, hydrogen fuel cell, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), other than conventional sources of energy like petroleum and gasoline for propulsion.

AFV proponents will be exempt from paying excise taxes and VAT for nine years to bring down the cost of importing and converting E-vehicles and their hybrid types, which should result to lower sticker price or dealer's price for consumers.

The draft committee report on the consolidated measure likewise provides other "incentives" to the developing E-motor vehicle industry such as exemption from the Motor Vehicle User's Charge and from color/number's coding to ensure all-week driving.

"Non-tax" incentives include special priority lane for E-vehicle owners and operators when registering or renewing E-vehicles with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and mandatory provision of parking facilities in every future commercial and public establishments.

Also under the proposed measure now being finalized for plenary approval, the LTO would issue special license plates to E-vehicle types while business owners would be encouraged to provide especially designated parking areas for AFV units.

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