An Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) strategy for the Philippines
President issues order encouraging people to walk, bike, and ride the train
By GENALYN KABILING
In an effort to reduce the country's carbon footprint and improve air quality, President Arroyo has ordered transport authorities to craft a national Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) strategy for the country.
In Administrative Order No. 254, the President said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) must "reform" the transportation sector, particularly favoring non-motorized locomotion (walking and cycling) and mass transportation system in roads, to lessen consumption of fossil fuels.
"The new paradigm in the movement of men and things must follow a simple principle: Those who have less in wheels must have more in road," the presidential order stated. Mrs. Arroyo directed the DoTC and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to convert roads using such principle to encourage more people to walk, bike, or catch the train rather than take their cars over short distances.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) was designated to coordinate with local government units and guide them on the plan to transform transportation system to favor parties engaged in these environment-friendly transportation alternatives.
The transportation department was recently designated head of a task group that would reduce the country's use of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming. In AO 254 signed last January 30, the President said the Task Group on Fossil Fuels headed by Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza must coordinate closely with government agencies, international organizations, and the private sector on the formulation of a national EST strategy. The President also ordered Malacanang and other cabinet offices to bring down by 50 percent the use of fossil fuels within two years.
She empowered the task group on fossil fuels to review the conformity of current laws on provisions of EST, identify and prioritize programs on achieving EST, and establish institutional and technical infrastructure requirement to implement the program. Presidential Adviser on Climate Change Heherson Alvarez was also assigned to consult with consumer groups and conduct media campaigns to reduce consumption of fossil fuels.
Environment Secretary Lito Atienza will sit as deputy head of the task group on fossil fuels with members, namely, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Alvarez, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, National Economic and Development Authority director general Ralph Recto.
Other members are the chief executive officer and commissioner of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, chairperson of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, and representatives from academe and private sector.
To support the operations of the Task Group, the President assigned DBM to set aside funds from the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund of the Motor Vehicle Users' Charges and other funding sources.
The administrative order can be viewed at http://www.op.gov.ph/directives/AO254.pdf & http://www.cleanairnet.org/caiasia/1412/propertyvalue-27072.html
best regards, Sudhir Gota
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