Group makes push for e-vehicle bill in Senate

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), a non-government organization advocating the use of electric jeepneys or e-jeepneys, is lobbying to have the Senate passed an e-vehicle incentives bill recently passed by the House of Representatives.

Sen. Ralph Recto leads the launch of the first electric vehicle fleet to be granted a public utility franchise. (Credit: iCSC/Bernard Testa)

House Bill 5460 provides incentives for the manufacture, assembly, conversion, importation and use of vehicles using alternative fuels such as electricity. Its Senate version is authored by Sen. Ralph Recto and co-sponsored by Sens. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Senate Bill 2856, known as the Alternative Fuel Vehicles Incentives (AFV) bill, seeks to reduce the price of electric vehicles by at least 30 percent through a blend of tax breaks and non-fiscal incentives aimed at consumers and emerging local electric vehicle manufacturing and servicing industry.

“The House has done its part and it’s now up to the Senate to steer the AFV bill past the finish line,” said Red Constantino, director of energy solutions think-tank Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.

“There’s a small stretch of road to cover so it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. This bill is not only about environment-friendly vehicles. It’s about green jobs and energy security,” Constantino said.

Once passed, electric jeepneys similar to the units plying Makati may fetch a vastly reduced price range of Php400,000 to 500,000 for 14-seater and 22-seater ejeepneys. Prices would also be far lower for smaller electric vehicle units such as e-trikes and e-motorcycles.

The AFV bill carries provisions similar to House Bill 5460, which was passed by the Lower Chamber last March, such as providing tax breaks and institutional support among others to the consumers and to the developing sunrise industry.

The authors of HB 5460 are Representatives Jose Zubiri, Hermilando Mandanas, Ryan Singson, Rufus Rodriguez, Maximo Rodriguez, Albert Raymond Garcia, and Rachel Marguerite Del Mar.

“With Senator Recto on the wheel, we have no doubt the AFV Incentives bill will pass before the session ends in June,” Constantino said.

In his sponsorship speech in 2011, Recto said “by promoting AFVs, we shield ourselves from the volatility of oil prices, when tantrums of teapot dictators in OPEC countries can cause oil price shocks, or when a small rustle in the Arab spring can send oil prices to winter-time highs.”

“The AFV bill is a brilliant initiative, because it encourages competition and innovation, it supports local industries and promotes national independence — independence particularly from fossil fuels. We see the heart of the esteemed statesman Don Claro M. Recto in this bill and the modern mind of his grandson, Sen. Ralph Recto,” said Constantino.

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