Stakeholders and leaders in the transport sector expressed their support to newer and cleaner alternatives such as the electric jeepneys (e-jeepneys) during a recent consultative meeting on the government’s Jeepney Modernization Program, which was organized by the Department of Transportation and Communications
Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP) president Boy Vargas said that e-jeepneys are a welcome development and that they actually have prototypes that they are currently testing. “And so far, the results have been very encouraging,” he said,
Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP) head Zeny Maranan, on the other hand, said that anything that would improve the health of their drivers and commuters alike is welcome news for them. “In my personal experience, I now prefer to live in Antipolo rather than in Metro Manila as my asthma acts up in Metro Manila because of the air pollution. All we want in the transport sector now is for government to provide funding so that we can afford to replace our old, diesel-fueled jeepneys,” she said.
Pasang –Masda (Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide) head, Obet Martin, for his part said that they are open to all clean alternatives. “In the past, we even tried out used cooking oil as fuel for our jeepneys. So an e-jeepney is definitely a viable option for us,” he said.
However, for lawyer Vigor Mendoza of 1-Utak, although they support alternative-fueled vehicles and in fact are into e-jeepneys, this is just a secondary concern. “For us, the primary concern for the Jeepney Modernization Program is how it will improve the quality of life of our jeepney drivers. All these technological modernization initiatives will amount to nothing if its effects are not felt on the ground, by the biggest stakeholders in the industry, our jeepney drivers.”
In the same consultative meeting, Rommel Juan, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) presented updates on the latest status of the electric vehicle roadmap to the transport groups. “We want to assure them that the electric vehicle industry is willing and able to support the transport industry’s clean, green and modern direction in public transport. We hope that with proof of concept now evident, they will consider e-jeepneys in their next re-fleeting program,” he said.
EVAP is the main group pushing for the Alternative Fuel Bill and is the main voice for electric vehicles in the country.