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Makati plans tricycle-free days; 2 barangays eyed as pilot areas
TONY MAGHIRANG,CyberDyaryo (14 Aug 2004 11:54 PM)

MAKATI CITY, PHILIPINES: The Makati City government is proposing once-a-week tricyle-free days to complement the vehicular volume rationalization scheme in Metro Manila.

The plan, which is scheduled to make its debut in two of the city’s barangays during the third quarter of the year, was among the proposals presented at an international conference on "Transport, Energy and Climate Protection: Local Government Innovations" held in Mexico City last month under the auspices of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).

ICLEI is a development agency that enables local governments to integrate measurable emission reductions into local practice, polices and actions tied to immediate municipal concerns, and the annual meeting serves as a forum for innovative transportation and energy-related strategies for addressing climate change and other municipal priorities.

A member of ICLEI, Makati City was invited to submit an abstract for a project in reducing transport emissions by fostering nonmotorized transport or engine efficiency. To meet the criteria, the city proposed a ban on tricycles on selected routes for one day each week.

Day for rest and maintenance

The tricycle-free day will be designated as a rest day for the driver and maintenance day for the vehicle. More than 2,600 tricycles ply the city streets on any given day. (The city government pitched a preliminary concept for a total ban on all motorized vehicles on city streets on Sundays, but the proposal was not politically feasible and monitoring compliance would be near impossible to do).

Consultations with various associations of tricycle operators and drivers narrowed down the initial target areas to barangays Palanan and San Antonio in the First District. About 175 tricycles will be covered by the ban when the scheme is launched in the third quarter of this year.

The selection of the two pilot communities was based on the manageability of monitoring compliance -- as opposed to other streets with close to 1,000 tricycles on round-the-clock service, and the presence of well-maintained sidewalks and walkways that the residents can use on the agreed day of the tricycle ban. Furthermore, the main road where jeepneys, buses and taxis ply their routes is a short distance from the selected side streets.

Financial burden on drivers

In real terms, the tricycle drivers and operators will be financially affected by the ban. A day off the road could mean the difference between having three meals and one meal a day for a tricycle driver and his family. The city hopes to offset such short-term difficulties by helping them organize a tricycle parts-and-maintenance cooperative, to be owned and managed by the affected drivers and operators themselves.

On the other hand, the one-day ban is projected to save the driver the equivalent of one liter of gasoline per day for one year, or approximately P9,100 at current pump prices. There are also the unquantifiable advantages of operating a well-maintained vehicle, the decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from the cumulative impact of 52 days without emissions from 175 tricycles and financial assistance and benefits from the cooperative to be organized by the drivers and operators.

City Hall plans to organize a technical working group that will implement, manage and monitor the prototype locations, as well as to fine-tune the rules, regulations and mechanisms for the project if and when the coverage is extended to the other barangays of Makati City, or even replicated in the 16 other cities and municipalities of Metro Manila.

Climate change a vital issue

Following the formation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change during the Earth Summit in Rio Janeiro in 1992, ICLEI’s groundbreaking environmental movement anchored on initiatives in urban areas and so-called megacities recognized early on that global warming and climate protection are equally vital issues. The negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol five years later marked the first attempt by the global community to craft structured mechanism for national-level emissions reduction using a quota system in allocating allowable emissions for each country.

ICLEI’s climate change program was first targeted at countries with high per-capita emissions. Its overarching framework continues to be based on an integrated context whereby climate change is woven into more pressing imperatives such as reducing air and water pollution, improving sanitation and infrastructure and eliminating poverty. It is also being implemented at the local urban level where about half of the world’s population lives.

Compared to rural folk, urban dwellers earn more income, have more potential to own a vehicle and have greater demand for transport energy that is largely generated from fossil fuel and a major contributor to greenhouse emissions, vehicular and air and water pollution.

Better-educated urban citizens are also seen as more open-minded and accommodating toward climate protection undertakings.

Other RP cities in campaign

Makati is only the latest city in the Philippines to join the ICLEI campaign. Puerto Princesa, in Palawan, has been cited for its Green Homes Project in which the integration of energy efficient measures in the design of a 1,000-unit low-income housing development has forestalled the potential emission of 170 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Tagbilaran City, in Bohol, has been selected as a demonstration city for a variety of ICLEI-sponsored projects such as a climate change awareness-building program in cooperation with the Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment.

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