Electric Jeepneys welcomed in Makati City

Greenpeace, GRIPP laud positive step towards adopting climate change solutions

Manila, 4 July 2007–Electric-powered jeepneys are set to revolutionize the Philippines’ most recognizable icon. Electric Jeepneys (E-Jeepneys), the first public transport system of its kind in Southeast Asia, were launched today in a historic test drive in Makati City, the country’s financial capital, by GRIPP (Green Renewable Independent Power Producer), Greenpeace, and the Makati City Government.

The Electric Jeepneys are part of an innovative project led by GRIPP which intends to steer clear of the use of fossil fuels to help mitigate climate change, even as it addresses urban problems such as air pollution and solid waste.

“The Electric Jeepneys demonstrate how cities can help mitigate the problem of climate change. Given the urgency of the need to address this global threat, it is encouraging to see pioneering cities like Makati take the initiative in implementing measures that would avoid the use of climate change-inducing fossil fuels,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigns Director Von Hernandez.

“Makati City welcomes the opportunity to be part of this initiative and is enthusiastic in pioneering it in the country. It is clear that, in addressing solid waste and air pollution issues, and in offering a much cheaper fuel alternative to jeepney drivers who service the city’s main routes, the project will result in clear, tangible benefits for Makati citizens,” said Makati Mayor Jejomar C. Binay.

The two E-Jeepneys are part of a fleet designed in the country by Philippine renewables firm Solar Electric Company. They will undergo technical and commercial tests for 6 months in Makati City and eventually in key areas in the province of Negros Occidental. The electric fleet will be increased to 50 units upon the successful conclusion of the test phase. Also, as stated in the project’s MOA, the city will provide a facility that will generate power from the biodegradable wastes from the city’s food establishments and wet markets into which the Electric Jeepneys are meant to be plugged.

“The Electric Jeepneys aim to demonstrate that there are climate-friendly alternatives to the current polluting modes of public transportation in the Philippines. The iconic jeepney remains, but without wasteful and carbon emitting diesel, and while providing increased incomes to the vehicles’ drivers,” said Athena Ballestros Ronquillo, founder and chair of GRIPP, the lead proponent of the E-Jeepneys initiative. “The pilot test in Makati is meant to ensure the technical, commercial, environmental and social feasibility of the project. If the project is successful, our hope is that the project will be replicated in other cities in the country and possibly other Asian capitals,” she added.

In support of the project, celebrities and Greenpeace supporters Angel Aquino, Amanda Griffin, Raya Mananquil, and Richard Gutierrez also graced the occasion along with officials of Makati’s transport cooperatives. Leaders of the city’s transport federations expressed their support for the test phase of the project.

“Greenpeace supports solutions-oriented technological and scientific innovations that can help stop climate change. The E-Jeepneys are a clear example of our “Simple Lang” project that calls upon Filipino citizens and institutions to adopt simple yet effective measures to help avert catastrophic climate change. We applaud Makati for showing leadership by taking on the test phase of this project. We challenge other cities to implement similar projects and hope that Makati City can also take this opportunity to lead in the implementation of other solutions particularly in the areas of energy use and efficiency,” added Hernandez.

For more information:
GRIPP:
Athena Ronquillo, Chair, Board of Trustees, +63 917 813 1562
Reina Garcia, Coordinator, +63 917 300 1585

Greenpeace:
Jasper Inventor, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, +63 917 300 9567
Lea Guerrero, Greenpeace Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969, +63 2 434 7034 lov 104