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Four Bus Companies Agree to Use CNG
Buses on cleaner gas start plying metro roads soon

Buses on cleaner gas start plying metro roads soon
by Bernadette S. Sto. Domingo

Businessworld (2 July 2004) - The government will start implementing its natural gas vehicle program for public transport after four bus companies committed to participate in the pilot project by end-2004, the Energy department yesterday said.

The bus operators led by HM Transport, Inc., De Guia Enterprise, Inc., NGV AdBus and First CNG, Inc., on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the government to start the operations of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses this year.

"With this MoA, we are very hopeful that we will see CNG buses plying our major thoroughfares, a major step forward in cleaning our air," Energy Secretary Vincent S. Perez said.

The Energy department, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Land Transportation Office (LTO), represented the government in the MoA signing.

In October 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched the government's natural gas vehicle program for public transport pilot project, which is aimed at encouraging the use of natural gas as alternative fuel for public transport.

The use of CNG in vehicles is seen to address pollution problems as well as enhance the role of natural gas in the country's energy mix.

Mr. Perez said the bus operators committed to initiate the purchase of CNG buses within two months after the MoA was inked. By end 2004, a number of CNG buses could start plying EDSA, the Energy chief said.

To ensure that CNG buses start using the major routes, the Energy department said the LTFRB committed to fast-track the facilitation and approval of certificate of public convenience while the LTO said it would speed up the registration as well as the conduct of emission tests of CNG buses.

At present, the Malampaya natural gas consortium led by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., Chevron Texaco and Philippine National Oil Co. have ensured the continuous supply of natural gas by putting up refilling stations, the Energy department said.

The DoTC, for its part, said it will provide preferential attention to duly accredited natural gas vehicle operators in granting new and exclusive franchises.

The government earlier said it will be giving tax incentives to public transport firms which will use CNG as fuel for public utility vehicles.

The Energy department said it has signed an agreement with the Malampaya consortium for the provision of compressed natural gas as part of the CNG project, which will focus on providing natural gas for an initial tranche of 200 buses.

It said the consortium agreed to give the discount over a period of seven years because the department secured a funding window from the Development Bank of the Philippines of about seven years.

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