Braga wants e-jeepneys in Davao

Jul. 13, 2007


15th Council

July 10, 2007

Davao City


By Councilor Pilar C. Braga

The urgency to save Mother Earth from the ravages of her own occupants, and the clamor to afford man the luxury of living in a pollution-free world are two concerns that boil down to a single advocacythat of protecting the environment and as the Chairperson of the Committee on Energy, Transportation and Communication, allow me to stress the concern I need for alternative energy.

Madame President, as population explodes and the need for people to travel expands, the inevitability of building more cars to ferry them to destinations, whether for work, pleasure, business, or simple travel. Given the standards we embrace today, the conveyances that carry these peoples and the industries that provide them employment are primarily dependent on fuels that are burned, and as a consequence also destroy the air we breathe and harm the animate beings that populate nature.

In the past half a century, scientists, in a bid to understand the abnormalities that have occurred in Nature, have now understood that huge problems like the dying of animal species, the rising of tides, the warming of the arctic poles, the distortions in global weather patterns, the reduction in agricultural productivity, and the emergence on new geological concerns have been, directly or otherwise, traced to the greenhouse effect, which in turn is blamed on pollution.

Happily, though, over the past two decades, inroads to curtail gas emission traced to fossil fuels have been dramatically reduced. Even the stubborn United States which refused to sign the decade-old Kyoto Protocol, an agreement to bring down pollution levels in signatory-countries, providing a ray of hope that in the years to come every highly industrial nation on earth will now turn to alternative fuels that only minimally, if not totally, save us from destruction.

As it is today, the alternative energy sources, among others, now include solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen, electricity, biomass, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and ethanol. These are options that, hopefully, will keep human population from being transformed into mutants and keep the environment where he resides more livable for generations to come.

Simply said, Madame President, we are in dire straits as far as preserving the environment and its occupants, and there is now the urgency to pitch in our share of keeping Mother Earth from further being reduced to an uninhabitable planet.

Locally, the same consistent problems confront us on a daily basis. Public conveyances continue to use fossil fuel that turns into carbon monoxide when burned. Industries, despite threats of closure, ignore the rules of the game and arrogantly show the pitch-black smoke pollutants that blow out of their chimneys. Vessels that navigate the gulf remain dependent on diesel fuel. And in suburban and rural communities, this scenario does not differ a bit from their city counterparts, except for the lesser number of users that unconsciously contribute to our burgeoning global problem on pollution.

Only recently, though, Madame President, a group named Solar Electric Company, and its lead proponent which carries the acronym GRIPP, introduced for the first time an electric jeepney in the country. The test-run site was in Makati. As expected, the euphoria that the launching generated was positive, and the enthusiasm raised by those who have the funds has been exceptionally encouraging.

The 12-seater electric vehicle is introduced as the next Philippine transport icon. The e-jeepneys are aimed to demonstrate that there are climate-friendly alternatives to the current polluting modes of public transportation in the Philippines. Aside from its non-pollutive effect, it is also very economical and very good for the owners and drivers as it will increase their income compared to the use of diesel/gas.

Given this appealing reviews and the rational impressions that have so far been received after the e-jeepney was introduced, may I request, Madame President, that our Hon. City Mayor, with the support of the City Council through the Committee on Energy, Transportation and Communication, invite the proponents of the electric car to introduce the same vehicle to the city.

I am not personally aware of anybody showing direct interest in the car of the future, but the appealing development of finally transforming the citys taxi fleets into air-conditioned units may just be a signal that some local investors are also willing to become major players in the e-jeepney industry. With eyes towards giving more benefits to drivers in terms of daily earning and contributing to saving the environment in more concrete way, finding e-jeepneys plying our roads will surely be an encouraging development.

At the proper time, Madame President, allow me to pass a resolution regarding this matter.

Thank you, Madame President.


City Councilor

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