Surigao City not so friendly to Eco-friendly E-Trike?

With Surigao City Vice Mayor Danilo Menor and the Surigao City Committee on Transportation including franchising office not keen of giving franchise as of now to E-Trike due traffic congestion what will be the fate of British Embassy backed electricity powered tricycle project?

Lou Vanessa Bauzon, Executive Director of ISDA Foundation Inc. claimed that for more than a year now they’ve been applying for public utility franchising for their E-Trikes because there are already takers for their “Rent-To-Own E-Trike Livelihood Project” of the foundation with a little grant from British Embassy.

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.

Last week, an E-Trike who is on an experimental basis was apprehended by local traffic officers here in Surigao City for being a colurum or having no franchise.

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.

In an interview by this writer at his office yesterday afternoon, Concepcion admitted they are not accepting application for Electricity or battery powered tricycle public utility franchise 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 incentives for E-trikes just to operate in their areas, Surigao City Vice Mayor Menor couldn’t answer and seek excuse for the chance interview.

This writer tried to look for City Councilor Jose Begil at his office twice yesterday in the morning and in the afternoon for his comment but his office personnel claimed the City Councilor was so busy. Begil’s office personnel in-charge admitted that the City Councilor is not bent of giving franchise to E-trike so far.

They also suggested just to personally interview City Councilor Begil. Three wheeled 8 passengers-capacity E-Trike is battery powered vehicle and can recharge after six to eight hours use.

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 agreement of support to the climate changes initiative. (PNA/Ben Serrano)

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