MANILA, Philippines – An environment group urged the government on Friday to take a serious look at electric vehicles, or e-vehicles, as part of the country’s move away from fossil fuel dependence amid rising oil prices and climate change.
Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) head Red Constantino said the country must confront “the jittery oil market with a steady green hand."
The iCSC is the proponent of the electric jeepney (e-jeepney) project, whose growing fleet is plying the roads of Makati City and Puerto Princesa City.
"The stone age did not end because the world ran out of stones, and a similar logic is playing out today with respect to oil. As we fully harness the huge renewable energy resources of the Philippines, we need to scale up solutions we already have, such as electric public vehicles and other sustainable transport alternatives,” he added.
Constantino issued the statement as tests were carried out on new e-vehicle models at the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
LTO North Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (NMVIC) chief Engineer Joel Donato supervised the tests.
"Ang matuwid na daan ay malinis na daan," Donato said. "We need to support the local electric vehicle industry because it creates green jobs and it helps us save fuel," Donato said.
The NMVIC is testing new electric tricycles, or e-Trikes, from the Alternative Modern Transport group headed Ariel Torres, who is selling e-Trike models at a range of P150,000 to P180,000 per unit.
Torres’ company has sold over 30 e-jeepneys since 2009 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Batangas, and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Around 50 e-Trikes sold by Torres's firm are now plying Surigao City. He plans to increase his group's electric vehicle (EV) deployment tenfold in the next 2 years.
Constantino said Donato has helped “accelerate the green transition of the country."
"This is the same reason iCSC has developed rigorous EV testing processes with the National Center for Transport Studies in UP-Diliman," he added.
The group helped form the Electric Vehicle Alliance in January, a loose network comprised of civil society groups and members of the private sector and academe. EVA convened with banking institutions a meeting in February designed to set up financing windows for sustainable transport options.
"DBP and Land Bank were there, including BPI. The interest was evident but we need top level management to see new revenue streams that can be generated from the expansion of electric vehicle fleets as oil prices skyrocket," Constantino said.
He called on government agencies such as the DOE and DOTC "to respond to the oil and climate crisis with the mentality of a basketball point guard."
"Transport drivers, operators and private sector members can shoot the ball so long as strategic leadership is provided by the government," he said.