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3rd eJeepney route launched today, “full speed ahead, no looking back” says proponent

July 12, Makati City — The lead organization pushing for low-emission public transport solutions launched today with Makati City the latest public green route dedicated to electric jeepneys or eJeepneys. Dubbed the “Makati Heritage Route,” the route traverses the city’s historic section and high technology, commercial area which have come to define Makati as the country’s premier financial district.

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay took the wheel of an eJeepney in the ceremonial drive along the route, followed by three other eJeepneys that will be plying the city’s third route. A mass was held earlier to mark Mayor Binay’s 34th birthday, which was attended by the Makati chief executive’s family, notably Vice President Jejomar Binay and the president’s sister Kris Aquino.

“History and modernity merge and take shape today in Makati as climate change solutions,” said Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities or iCSC. “With patience and partnership, we are determined to demonstrate that solutions to the climate crisis complement, if not boost, local sustainable development plans. There is no looking back.”

MGR_Heritage_4Constantino’s organization is behind the pioneering Climate-Friendly Cities project, an integrated waste management, sustainable transport and clean energy program developed to promote sustainable solutions to climate change. The eJeepney is the most popular icon of the Climate-Friendly Cities initiative, which counts the country’s leading ecotourism destination, Puerto Princesa City, as its partner along with other cities.

Global greenhouse gas emission assessments conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently revealed that the highest concentration of C02 emissions ever in the atmosphere occured in 2010. The IEA report injected urgency in the international climate change negotiations, which have been marked by deadlocks and increasingly acrimonious debates.

“Cities need to take the lead and to do so will require bold leadership and pragmatic vision. “We have political momentum, we are mobilizing more policy support and we are going full speed ahead, hopefully on a nationwide scale soon,” Constantino said. “We share the vision of sustainable transport solutions with the new leadership of the Department of Transportation and Communication. We consider them full partners in the project,” added Constantino.

Constantino said his group has been working closely with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to get the country’s first ever commercial franchise for eJeepneys issued. “We have been told by the LTFRB that the franchise papers may be issued inside a month, or even within weeks. We are confident this will catalyze the massive uptake of cleaner, safer, climate-friendly public utility vehicles,” Constantino said.

Over 200,000 diesel-fueled, polluting jeepneys ply Metro Manila today, creating monumental air and noise pollution problems. “With spiking oil prices, the shift to ejeepneys will not only result in cleaner air but in higher take-home income for jeepney drivers and operators,” Constantino said. “We are determined to make the solutions of tomorrow available to Filipinos today. #

For media inquiries please contact Red Constantino at 0917-5241123 or redcosmo@gmail.com.

Photos: iCSC/Albert Lozada