NGO optimistic Surigao City Gov’t will be friendly to eco-friendly E-Trike in 2011

Officials and members of pro-environment Islas Ecology Development Advocacy or ISDA Foundation is hopeful that finally the Surigao City Government will issue franchise and friendly this time to eco-friendly E-Trike or electric powered Tricycle next year.

This developed after said group asked Surigao City Government through City Council for more than a year now that electric powered passenger tricycles or E-Trike will be given franchise or permit to ply the city’s thoroughfares.

Already the City Traffic Enforcer already apprehended a driver driving an E-trike on a road test allegedly soliciting passengers here two weeks ago.

Surigao City’s Tricycle Franchising Regulatory Office Head Cesar Concepcion confirmed the apprehension of E-Trike and the driver for allegedly picking up passengers even without a franchise.

Concepcion claimed the City Council headed by Vice Mayor Danilo Menor has not yet gave its nod to issue franchise to the E-Trikes due to looming problem of traffic congestion in the city.

In an interview by this writer at his office, Concepcion admitted they are not accepting application for Electricity or battery powered tricycle public utility tricycle because of problems of traffic congestion.
Concepcion suggested to this writer to interview members of the Surigao City Council headed by Vice Mayor Danilo Menor which has the approving power for tricycle franchise especially the City Council Committee on Transportation headed by former human rights lawyer and activist Councilor Jose Begil.

However Concepcion made a follow up statement before this writer leave his office saying that he may consider giving franchise to only ten E-Trikes by April next year but still subject to the approval of the city council,

Vice Mayor Menor confirmed to this writer in a chance interview that they are not really accepting the E-Trike Franchising because Committee on Transportation headed by Councilor Begil is still studying the viability of the E-Trike and its impact of the already problematic traffic congestion.

“You may interview Councilor Begil too but as of now the E-Triike couldn’t be granted a franchise” Menor said.

But when asked why the local government units of Cabadbaran and Tubay, all in the province of Agusan del Norte who had similar problem granted or is about to grant franchise to E-Trike without hitches and is giving even incentives for E-trikes just to operate in their areas, Surigao City Vice Mayor Menor couldn’t answer and seek excuse himself for the chance interview,

The other day, Lou Vanessa Bauzon, Executive Director of ISDA Foundation Inc. claimed there is now hope or light at the end of the tunnel after City Councilor Jose Begil called her up and promised to help the foundation by calling for a dialogue with present tricycle drivers ‘ group in the city

‘Then Councilor Begil claimed he will call for public hearing to finally pave the way in the issuance of franchise hopefully by next year but as to the exact date that we have no idea yet” Bauzon told this writer in an interview.

Begil admitted in a mobile phone interview with this writer admitted they had tough time in considering for franchise issuance of the E-Trike due traffic congestion.

However, Begil assured he will help granting franchise after series of consultation and public hearing be made.

Bauzon said the British Embassy helped initial funding of P570.000.00 as grant for livelihood for ISDA Foundation specifically for the E-Trike project.

Bauzon alleged the non-issuance of franchising for more than a year also delayed implementation of the E-Trike livelihood project.

Under the E-Trike livelihood scheme, Surigao City public utility drivers were given chance to own the E-Trike without down payment through daily payment only of P300 until fully paid.

And since ISDA Foundation or Islas Ecology Development Advocacy has limited or no starting funds to subsidize, it entered an agreement with local rural bank, Siargao Bank to fund the “Rent-to-Own E-Trike” livelihood project, Bauzon said.

Initially Siargao Bank purchased twenty E-Trikes for the project and more than twenty local drivers took interest and registered themselves for the project but never released yet since Surigao City Franchising for Tricycle Office is not accepting the E-Trike application for franchising.

Under Surigao City Ordinance No. 300 series of 2010, the franchising for the city’s tricycle or three-wheeled public utility vehicles will be facilitated under Tricycle Franchising Regulatory Office but approval will be under the City Council.

The 3-wheeled 8 passengers-capacity E-Trike is battery powered operated and can recharge after four, six to eight hours use depending on the travel it underwent.

The re-charging only cost P40.00 to P50.00 but ISDA Foundation is now installing solar-powered re-charging which is cheaper in cost, Bauzon said.

The noise and air pollution-free E-Trike has been showcased during launching of Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction project known as Depensa in this city.

During the launching, Surigao City Mayor Ernesto Matugas signed manifesto of support to the climate changes initiative.(UCANews/Ben Serrano)

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