Mitigating climate change | SunStar

Mitigating climate change

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Mitigating climate change

Thursday, May 04, 2017

THE government is now bent to implement a new approach, which for a long time had not been given attention, to mitigate the effects of climate change–modernizing the country’s transport system.

The public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program will not only provide safer transport system for Filipino commuters, but will help address growing concern on climate change.

The country’s finance and transport officials have assured that while the world is already moving towards a green transport system, the Philippines would not be left behind.

The program, which will be implemented this year and seen as a “politically challenging” plan of the Duterte administration, is set to modernize 220,000 public utility jeepneys (PUJs) across the country in a bid to provide commuters with a safer, cleaner, healthier and more fuel-efficient means of everyday transport.

These well-loved jeepneys, which have turned into “inefficient dinosaur that must now be relegated to the museum”, will be replaced with an environment-friendly vehicle, called the e-jeepneys.

“Everywhere in the world, countries are looking into new transport modes to keep the air clean, move people efficiently and decongest the roads,” according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) as president of the Land Bank of the Philippines, along with Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation.

The program is just as timely as the country continues to be threatened by climate change and is expected to be increasingly exposed to extreme weather events, temperature rise, shifting rainfall patterns and sea level rise. Reducing the level of air pollution and risks to unpredictable weather events would surely help the country address these.

For a start, the PUV modernization program will have its pilot implementation in Metro Manila, where traffic is at its worst. Based on the MOU, Landbank will provide a loan facility, called the Special Program for Environment-Friendly and Effectively Driven (Speed) jeepneys, for PUJ drivers and operators affected by the program.

Alex Buenaventura, Landbank president who used to head homegrown rural bank, the One Network Bank, said that under Speed, the state-run financial institution sets aside a P1 billion credit facility for the program’s pilot project, covering 650 units at P1.4 million to P1.6 million per unit. Operators may acquire electric jeepney, a Euro-4 engine-powered jeepney or a hybrid unit.

The financing scheme is made easier for borrowers who would only pay P800 a day over a period of seven years with five-percent equity and six-percent annual interest rate.

Both Dominguez and Buenaventura are Dabawenyos. Buenaventura, also present at the MOU signing, was instrumental in the growth of One Network Bank as one of the country’s leading rural banks before it was acquired by the Henry-Sy-controlled BDO.

“I am confident the government agencies participating in this program have the political will to see this program through,” Dominguez said, as he confidently added the program is an important contribution to fighting climate change.

“It will make commuting a more pleasant activity for our bedraggled commuters,” he vowed.

New rules on cement imports

The Department of Trade and Industry recently issued a revised rules on cement importation, tightening safety standards to further ensure consumer welfare and protection.

Department Order 1702 indicates new guidelines for the mandatory certification of cement imports, updating the previous order on the issuance of import commodity clearance (ICC) for imported cement.

The new order details revised guidelines for Portland Cement and Blended Hydraulic Cement with Pozzolan covered by PNS 07-2005 and PNS 63-2006, respectively.

It also requires the application of the Philippine Standard licenses on foreign producers of cement imports and ICC on cement imports, as well as the setting of a required minimum paid capitalization of P20 million for all cement importers in order to weed out fly-by–night entities. It also requires cement importers to post surety bond of 10 percent of the declared value of the imported cement.

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on May 05, 2017.

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