08 February 2018
Clean fuel subsidies proposed to address commuter woes
Crackdown on jeeps will affect only 7% of vehicular pollution in Metro Manila
Environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) bucked the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) for the disruption of the economic activities of millions of commuters and drivers because of its ‘Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok’ operations on jeepneys, urging them to provide clean fuel subsidies to jeep fleets to immediately address commuter woes.
“The jeepney crackdown is heartless and disproportionate to the fact that jeepneys surprisingly contribute only 7% to the total volume of vehicular pollutants in Metro Manila alone. The Duterte administration should realize that the ‘Tanggal-Bulok, Tanggal Usok’ is disrupting not only the livelihood of 650,000 jeepney drivers and their families, but also of the country’s nine million jeepney commuters,” said Leon Dulce, deputy national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
“This crackdown is clearly not an anti-pollution drive but a push for sweetheart corporate deals for new transportation technology. We demand the I-ACT to clean up their act by stopping this fake clean air solution and modernization program. We need a comprehensive transportation modernization program that will provide pro-people, pro-environment solutions to all aspects of the transport sector and not just dimly crackdown on one segment,” Dulce furthered.
The environment group cited government data from the Environmental Management Bureau, which demonstrated that while jeepneys were among the top contributors to particulate matter (PM10) at 49 percent, Sulfur Oxides (SOx) at 42 percent, and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) at 21 percent, this only amounted to 92,632 tons or just 7% of the total 1,418,430.35 tons produced in a year. (See figure below)
Carbon Monoxide (CO) pollution comprises the biggest chunk of our emissions inventory at 1.03 million tons, of which 65 percent were produced by gasoline-based utility vehicles and gasoline-based private vehicles
The group noted that the sharp increase in private vehicles over the past two years will have likely further increased the share of gasoline-based vehicles in the emissions inventory. A solution, they said, should thus be sensitive to the marginal status of jeepney drivers.
“The Coalition of Transport Cooperatives claimed that preventive maintenance, fuel additives or better-quality fuel, and pollution control devices can be cheaper interim solutions. We support the proposed ‘Palit Jeep’ program where jeepney fleets can swap in their existing engines, other parts, or actual units to the government in exchange for cleaner substitutes,” said Dulce.
“A clean-fuel subsidy would help jeepney drivers comply with emissions and road-worthiness standards. This will immediately address the alarming decrease in jeepney circulation affecting the travel of commuters. The clean-fuel subsidy can be the first phase of this program, and is a concrete expression of the principle that the country’s public transportation system is first and foremost a state responsibility,” explained Dulce.
Scientists, economists, and consumer groups joined jeepney drivers in coming up with the Palit Jeep Program, proposing a series of government procurements of replacement clean-fuel jeep technologies at a significantly lower cost based on quantity. Jeepney franchises can then swap in their parts or units to the government to defray government costs.
“The Duterte government should no longer resort to stop gap measures and ensure that we have a strategic transport modernization program that ensures safe, clean, affordable, and people-controlled public transportation for all,” Dulce ended.#