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Electric jeepney proponent lauds Recto for landmark alternative fuel bill

Group asks senate for early passage of Senate Bill 2856 and House to enact similar measure

Manila, October 5 — The Philippine group which pioneered electric jeepneys in the country praised today Sen. Ralph Recto for “speeding up the country’s transition to sustainable transport.” The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, or iCSC, which operates the eJeepney fleet in Makati City, gave Recto the thumbs up after the senator delivered his sponsorship speech on October 4 of Senate Bill 2856, also known as the “Alternative Fuel Vehicles Incentives Act”.

“The manufacture and operation of electric vehicles needs policy support and smart incentives, not subsidies. This is exactly what Recto’s measure provides. It is concise, sharp and on target,” said Red Constantino, director of iCSC.

Recto’s bill aims to reduce the price of vehicles that use alternative fuels, particularly electric jeepneys, tricycles, cars and buses. The measure also covers vehicles that use compressed and liquified natural gas as well as LPG.

A veteran legislator and currently the chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee, Recto’s initiative seeks to exempt manufacturers, assemblers, converters and importers of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles from the payment of excise taxes and duties for nine years.

The bill also aims to exempt manufaturers and assemblers from paying Value-Added Tax for a period of nine years for the purchase and importation of raw materials, spare parts, components and capital equipment used in the manufacture or assembly of alternative fuel vehicles.

Once enacted, SB 2856 will exempt owners of alternative fuel vehicles from paying the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge upon registration of their vehicles.

“We applaud Sen. Recto for taking the driver’s seat. We hope the senate will support the early passage of SB 2856, which meets both challenge and opportunity head on. Recto’s proposal will not only help to dramatically reduce air and noise pollution. It will generate green jobs and contribute as well to the global fight against climate change,” Constantino said.

The senate bill also grants non-fiscal incentives to alternative fuel vehicles. Owners will enjoy priority status during vehicle registration and the the issuance of plate numbers. Applications of operators of commercial public vehicle franchise will also be prioritized. Vehicles using alternative fuels will be exempt from the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (or Number-Coding Scheme) and will enjoy free parking space in new establishments.

In his sponsopship speech, Recto asked why “government has been generous in policy support to financial engineers who do not create anything of real value” and yet balk “[at extending] the same assistance to real engineers who produce real things?” Recto said “the [present] tax regime on vehicles … does not distinguish whether the vehicle uses dirty fuel or not. This is where Congress should come in.”

Constantino said Recto’s bill “is extremely timely and urgent. The wise senator is correct in saying that tax incentives represent the necessary national equity to the country’s transition towards sustainable transport and energy independence.”

Every hour, Philippine motor vehicles consume 2.029 million liters of gasoline. Each hour, the Philippines spends P53,000 to treat pollution-related diseases and to compensate for productivity losses, and every hour, 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide is pumped into the air. (iCSC Release)