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3-in-1: E-vehicles to Help Solve Pollution, Health, and PUV Drivers’ Income Woes– Sen. Kiko



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Seeking to help solve problems of air pollution, public health, and low income of public utility drivers, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has pitched for the use of electric and hybrid vehicles.

In filing Senate Bill 1540 or the Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Including Charging Stations Promotions Act of 2017,” Pangilinan wants to lessen the country’s contribution to climate change, eventually lower the health risks brought by air pollution, and provide for more income in the transport sector.

“Madalas na biktima ng kalamidad ang Pilipinas, at lalo pang lumalala ang ating mga kalye tuwing umuulan. Kapag umuulan at bumabaha, ang tindi ng inaabot nating trapiko. Isa ito sa mga direktang epekto ng climate change sa ating pang-araw-araw na buhay. Kailangan nating baguhin ang ating araw-araw na pamumuhay para makatulong sa pagbabawas ng epekto ng climate change,” said Pangilinan, who is also Liberal Party president.

(“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.”)

In line with the Philippines’ 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.

“Hindi sapat na kailangan lang nating solusyunan ang matinding trapik sa ating mga kalsada. Kung maaari ay gawin din ito sa paraang pangmatagalan at makakabuti sa ating kapaligiran at maging sa kalusugan ng lahat ng mga gumagamit ng kalye. Kapag naipatupad ito, tinatayang madadagdagan din ang kita ng mga tricycle driver ng 30% dahil mas maraming pasahero ang kasya sa mga electric vehicles. Mas mura rin ang pagcharge dito kumpara sa presyo ng gasolina,” said Pangilinan.

(“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.”)

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.

Reducing Health Risk, Increasing Drivers’ Incomes

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.

“Inaasahan po namin na makita ng publiko at ng kasalukuyang administrasyon ang mga benepisyong dulot ng panukalang ito at nawa’y suportahan ang pagpasa ng batas na ito (We hope that the public and this administration would see these advantages and support this measure),” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan last year filed several measures to help mitigate the effects of climate change while helping raise the income of the informal sector, such as Expanded Crop Insurance Act of 2016, National Food Security Act of 2016, and the Strategic Food Security Rice Reserve Act of 2016.

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Duterte Highlights Responsible Use of Digital Platforms




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President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday highlighted the responsible use of the digital platform in communicating truth as he urged communications and information officers to write and tell stories of the people.

This was the gist of the President’s speech read by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar during the second day of the National Information Convention at SMX Convention Center in Davao City.

Though recognizing the different modes of communicating and advocating government programs and policies based on speed and sophistication, Duterte raised questions about the outcomes of using digital media.

“What do we get out of the contents on the Internet? Are they fact-based on good reasoning? Do they have the capacity to affect our thinking correctly? Is there some relevance to the way we can, individually and collectively, improve our lives, restore a sense of compassion and concern, do justice where it is rightfully due, and, most importantly, safeguard the future?” the President’s message read.

Duterte said the questions can be answered during the convention.

The President also underscored the importance of sharing the truth through various platforms.

He also highlighted the power of words of change as a radical transformation in eradicating destructive elements such as his war on drugs, criminality, corruption, and terrorism.

“The battle zones surround all of us; and, as the communication and information officers of the government, you are bound to fight these wars as a matter of duty and for the honor of being the public servants of our people,” he said.

He stressed that words are most effective instruments one can use in confronting a fractured world.

“There are truths and certainties we must speak of in order to elicit respect for the law, the honor for authority, a sense of discipline, decency and pride in being a Filipino who is capable of defending our community when it is under siege,” he added.

“As information officers, therefore, your words should approximate these truths,” he said.

He further urged communications and information officers to leave ugly stories of those who scatter hatred, anger, divisiveness, with the cruelty of their lies and the wounds they cause with their poisoned pens.

“We must gather the goodness that is inherent in our hearts, and turn this into the advancement of understanding, harmony, unity and peace,” he said.

He said the essence of communication is truth-telling in their reports.

“The bonds that unite us together, are the stories we must tell our people; and, in the re-telling of our stories, in the re-creation of our communication, our world is re-created,” Duterte stressed.

Duterte expressed hope that NIC would strengthen government communications and information officers to be the perfect professionals.

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PDEA Aims to Free Up to 8k Barangays Yearly from Illegal Drugs




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Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino targets to free 7,000-8,000 barangays per year from illegal drugs, as President Rodrigo Duterte has four years left to fulfill his campaign promise.

“We have a timeline of four years more before the President steps down and we need to clear 7,000-8,000 barangays per year,” Aquino said during a forum on the administration’s “Rehabinasyon” program on the first day of the three-day National Information Convention (NIC) in Davao City on Monday.

Combining the Filipino words for rehabilitation and nation, “Rehabinasyon” aims to take a holistic approach to eliminating the country’s drug problem by putting a premium on the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers, saving the youth from the evils of drugs, and envisioning a drug-free nation with a better future.

The PDEA chief said more than 24,000 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs. As of Feb. 8, 2018, the Duterte administration has cleared 5,327 barangays of prohibited substances.

Aquino also reported the agency has conducted 85,068 anti-drug operations and arrested 121,087 drug personalities in anti-drug operations.

He pointed out PDEA has seized P19.61-billion worth of evidence from 9 drug laboratories and 179 drug dens.

Aquino added the agency has arrested 454 government workers, including elected officials, and rescued 618 minors.

The PDEA chief also said the agency targets to establish offices in the Philippines’ 13 key ports to stop the entry of illegal drugs in the country, noting that more than 80 percent of illegal drugs in the country comes from overseas.

The PDEA chairs the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) created by President Duterte in March 2017.

ICAD launched the Rehabinasyon program, which features three components: RealNumbers, RealSolutions, and RealStories.

Under these components, initiatives like information dissemination, treatment of drug dependents, livelihood programs, job security, and alternative modes of development will be reintroduced and implemented across the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte won the 2016 elections under the campaign promise to rid the country of illegal drugs and curb corruption in government.

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DPWH Resumes Road Repair Works on 7 Roads in Metro Manila




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The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will continue its road reblocking and repairs in the cities of Quezon and Caloocan this weekend.

According to DPWH National Capital Region Director Melvin B. Navarro, the repair and rehabilitation in six (6) major roads in Quezon City and one (1) in Caloocan City covering an area of 2,136.35 square meters will start 11 PM Friday, 16 February 2018.

In Quezon City, reblocking and repair works will be done at the northbound direction of the following roads: Visayas Avenue in front of the Department of Agriculture (DA) outerlane; EDSA between Landers Street to Howmart, 5th lane; Congressional Avenue Extension corner Tandang Sora Avenue, 1st lane; Congressional Avenue from EDSA to Cagayan Street, 3rdlane; Quirino Highway from T. Urbano to Pagkabuhay Road, inner lane; and A. Bonifacio Avenue from Calavite Street to Mariveles Street, middle lane. Also included is the southbound direction of A. Bonifaco Avenue, crossing Sgt. Rivera, middle lane.

Repair works will also be undertaken at the northbound direction of Bonifacio Monumento Circle in Caloocan City.

Motorists are advised to use possible alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion in the affected areas.

Using one (1) day concrete mix, affected roads will fully open 5 AM Monday, 19 February  2018. (DPWH)

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Improved Infra, Eased Regulations to Boost Trade, Investments in ASEAN




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Member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) need to improve physical infrastructures and streamline regulatory processes in an effort to facilitate trade and investments in the region, according to a report from state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

In a report titled “ASEAN connectivity: The hows and whys,” PIDS information officer Neille Gwen de la Cruz noted that connectivity is important to the region’s continued economic growth and an integral factor to realize the vision of an ASEAN Community by 2025.

ASEAN leaders have adopted the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, which has the goal of achieving a “seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated ASEAN that will promote competitiveness, inclusiveness, and a greater sense of Community” by the year 2025.

“Right now, ASEAN is recognized as one of the world’s largest economic zones. Making it easier to transport goods and services, reducing cumbersome processes, or simply opening more ways for people to move around the region would help facilitate the growth of ASEAN SMEs (small and medium enterprises),” said De la Cruz.

Citing an ASEAN Secretariat data, she said SMEs comprise 90 percent of companies in the region and contribute to as much as 60 percent of the region’s gross domestic product, making them the driving force of economic growth in the ASEAN.

“One of the main advantages of having an integrated region is having a seamless trade. Once the means to move from one country to another has been provided, there would be a freer flow of goods, services, and workers within and across the region, bolstering the perception that the region is an attractive market,” she added.

The PIDS report noted that an interconnected ASEAN is also envisioned to promote knowledge sharing and cultural exchange through improved physical infrastructure, streamlined regulatory processes and harmonized procedures and standards.

These are expected to create significant positive impacts on the region’s SMEs, as well as tourism and human resources, among others, it said.

“Promoting ASEAN connectivity will also boost tourism by capitalizing on the diverse history and culture of the region. Easing visa requirements across ASEAN would encourage greater mobility of people,” De la Cruz added.

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