Promotion of Low Carbon Urban Transport Systems in the Philippines

Thomas M. Orbos
Policy and Regulatory Specialist

III. Scope and Limitation

The SAP shall guide the DOTr in creating an environment for the commercialization of low carbon urban transport systems. This shall also serve as a support mechanism to the Strategic Actions on Sustainable Energy (Priority No. 6 of the National Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2028). It may also serve as a reference among LGUs in their crafting, adoption, and/or implementation of development plans. Moreover, the gaps identified in Deliverable 2 of the “Promotion of Low Carbon Urban Transport Systems in the Philippines Project” were looked into and included as variables to come up with strategies.

To support the findings, the activities conducted to pilot LGUs in the implementation of low carbon transport system were considered in crafting this plan. For instance, the LGUs of Baguio, General Santos, Pasig, Santa Rosa and Iloilo City were among the pilot sites that expressed support to reduce pollutants in their city’s air by embracing an environmentally-friendly mass transport system. These cities were selected on the basis of rapid urbanization rates, factoring the inflow of tourists, traffic congestion, increasing population, significant number of vehicles, increased air pollution, among others. Part of their actions taken was to formulate their respective Local Public Transport Route Plan that served as a basis to rationalize the different public transport routes in the city and the applicable low carbon transport system placed in the city. In addition to this, a series of work planning sessions were conducted from 2019 to early 2020 (prior to onset of increased COVID-19 infection in the country) to check the project reception among local executives and public transport organizations.

To provide another spectrum of reference, the implementation of electric vehicles (EV) was looked into; considering that this is part of the Market Transformation program of the government through the introduction of energy efficient EV Project or the e-trike project. The use of EVs and establishment of charging stations pose a great opportunity towards the implementation of low carbon transport system in the country. An example of which is the implementation of e-trikes in Boracay Island, LGU of Malay, Aklan which started in 2018. The partnership between DOTr and Malay LGU was done in order to improve the public transport system not only for the tourists but most especially for the locals. The shift to EVs is a manifestation of the government’s commitment to promote an environmentally-friendly transport in the area.

By design, the plan should be derived from a series of face-to-face consultation workshops on a participatory approach which should be attended by representatives of DOTr, its attached agencies, other participating national agencies and selected LGUs. By program calendar, it should run from April to May 2020. Unfortunately, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, in particular, required strict community quarantines, preemptive lockdowns of LGUs and offices. This health emergency caused significant delay in the crafting of this plan.