Pangilinan files Senate bill providing incentives for e-vehicles

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has filed Senate Bill 1540 or the “Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Including Charging Stations Promotions Act of 2017,” which seeks to lessen the country’s contribution to climate change, lower the health risks brought by air pollution, and provide for more income in the transport sector.

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“The Philippines is a disaster-prone country, and our roads are especially unbearable when it rains. Non-stop rains and flooding cause horrendous traffic jams. This is a direct impact of climate change to our everyday lives. We must start changing our daily lifestyle to help lessen the impact of climate change,” he said.

In line with the country’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions by 70% by the year 2030, Pangilinan’s Senate Bill 1540 seeks to provide time-bound tax incentives for the manufacture, assembly, and use of hybrid and electric cars as well as charging stations.

Public utility vehicles will also be exempted from the mandatory number-coding traffic scheme, get exclusive parking in commercial establishments, and given priority in registration and franchise applications at the Land Transportation Office.

“It is not enough that we only resolve the issue of extreme traffic in our roads. If possible, this must also be done in a manner that is sustainable and environment-friendly, as well as healthy for road users. This bill is also projected to increase the income of tricycle drivers by 30% because electric vehicles allow for more passenger capacity and charging them is cheaper than fuel,” he said.

The bill builds on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change the Philippines ratified last March.

The transportation sector worldwide contributes to 20% of the total carbon dioxide emissions globally. In the Philippines alone, public transport accounts for 36.1% of the total carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion.

Replacing regular tricycles with 100,000 e-tricycles could reduce gasoline consumption by 561,000 barrels a year or 260,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, as estimated by the Department of Energy.

Once implemented, the proposed measure will effectively lower the pedestrian and transportation worker’s risk to the unhealthy effects of air pollution due to constant exposure to Manila’s worsening air quality.

An average Metro Manila resident spends 1,000 hours on congested roads every year, according to the Philippine chapter of the International Real Estate Federation.

Former Health Secretary Enrique Ona cautioned about the higher incidence of non-communicable diseases caused by worsening air pollution. This includes allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), cancer, and heart disease. COPD alone affects almost 3 million Filipinos annually.

Relatedly, the Department of Trade and Industry projected that income of tricycle drivers could also be increased by 30% because e-vehicles have an increased passenger capacity of 50% than normal tricycles, and charging costs for electric and hybrid vehicles are also significantly cheaper than the cost of fuel by 65%.

The electric and hybrid vehicles industry enjoys an increasing support in major Metro Manila cities as it is the vehicle of choice for transporting tourists. The sector also contributes employment to more than 50,000 Filipinos involved in manufacturing, trading, and sales.

“We hope that the public and this administration would see these advantages and support this measure,” Pangilinan said.

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