missing the forest

I always tend to stall on my posts whenever I work on my series on the design of democracy. I put a lot of thought into my posts so I don't want to rush the writing.

Meanwhile, a lot of metro related issues I want to comment on get backlogged.

I'm breaking that cycle - and so, if you don't mind, will postpone my last post in the design of democracy series. -udc

Last week, the Manila Bulletin reported that the national government is looking to spend Php 23 Billion for an anti-pollution program (link via Google's cache).

The details:

The government is depending on an estimated P13-billion fund from multilateral agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a separate P10 billion from state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for a public utility program aimed ultimately at cutting pollution in the metropolis by 20 percent yearly until 2010.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is also trying to access funding for its anti-air pollution program from the Land Bank of the Philippines which has a window for retroffiting engines of highly-polluting public utility jeepneys by up to 30 percent equity and collateral requirements. For the ADB loan, this consists basically of P5-billion unprogrammed loan and P8 billion in programmed but uncommitted loan.
The sticking point for me, they think they can achieve that reduction by changing out PUJ engines -or by acquiring brand new units:
It is estimated that changing engines of 7,000 units of public utility jeepneyes will require loanable money of P4.55 billion under DENR’s anti-pollution Option I which is changing the power train by changing engines,transmission and differential at a cost of about P300,000 to P500,000.

DENR’s Option II is the acquisition of brand new unit of these transportation facilities while Option III is acquiring brand new, air-conditioned units.
And that is missing the forest for the trees! Why? because "There is an estimated 67,000 units of jeepneys, 10,754 buses, 61,173 tricycles, and 1.47 million private vehicles in the National Capital Region."

The private vehicles outnumber PUV's 9 to 1! Even if you assume that PUVs generate 3 times* more pollutants (GHGs and particulates) than private vehicles - 75% of the pollution would still be generated by private vehicles.

And private vehicle registration is increasing at more than double the rate of PUV registrations. From 2003-2005, PUV registrations (including renewals) increased by an average of 4% while private vehicle registrations (including renewals) rose by 9.73%. And we're talking percentage increases!

In real numbers, 67,186 PUVs were added to the road between 2003 and 2005, while the total number of private vehicles rose by 10 times that number to 690,153.

Clearly, any effort to improve air quality will need to involve reducing private car use. And you can only do that by improving public transit and looking at how land use interacts with travel patterns.

They should consider spending that Php 23 Billion ($475 Million dollars) on BRT networks. (I know, I know. I sound like a broken record.)

Instead of using the money for loans for drivers(ibabaon na naman sa utang ang mga drivers and operators!), they should invest it in more structured mass transit that can move the PUV operators into more formal business and better capital creation. That money can pay for at about 95-100 kilometers of BRT lines.

Oh, but then, I forgot. We're a nation of auto-elitists -where six people who ride in three cars are way more important than the 70 who ride a bus.

*-I couldn't find any data so I just pulled that number from my ass. I seriously doubt that PUVs on average are 5 times more polluting than private vehicles.

1 comment:

pev said...

I completely agree with you that the solution to our transport system is to concentrate on how a mass transit would be installed on the next few years but this must be a priority of the government.

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