MANILA, Sept 24 (Mabuhay) — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade is not in favor of registering electric bikes and scooters as public transportation is still limited while most of the country is still under community quarantine against COVID-19’s spread.
In a statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified that there are no official or final guidelines yet on the use of electric bikes and electric scooters on public roads.
“The one submitted to us is an initial draft that is yet to be reviewed by the DOTr Road Sector, Legal Affairs, and the Office of the Secretary,” it said.
On Tuesday, Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said the draft guidelines, when turned into an administrative order, some electric bikes classified as “light” will be prohibited on public roads, while other classifications will be allowed.
Galvante maintained that under Republic Act No. 4136, a vehicle should be authorized and licensed, regardless of whether it is an electric or gas-engine powered vehicle.
The DOTr, however, said “Sec. Tugade was interviewed on the issue of e-scooters yesterday, and he said that personally, he is not in favor of having e-scooters registered, especially now that we are in a pandemic.”
“Sec. Tugade said that he will listen to the opinions/arguments of regulators and stakeholders,” it said.
In a separate statement, Clean Air Movement Philippines said “requiring an LTO drivers license now for e-scooters/e-bikes riders will not help our difficult efforts to bring back the Philipppine economy to recovery amidst the decision of President Duterte to revert back to the one meter distancing within confined spaces in our mass transport which effectively limits maximum passengers load.”
“Safe transport which adheres completely to our govt’s minimum health standards (particularly on social distancing) must be encouraged and supported instead for the sake of the health and lives of our people and the equally important Philippine economy,” the group said.
The environment advocacy group said the government should not be the one to put the final nail on the country’s fledging economy by imposing untimely limitations to people’s access to affordable, clean and environmental friendly, and social distancing compliant alternative mode of transportation. (MNS)