Las Piñas City Provides FREE Initial parking for Senior Citizens and PWDs (Persons With Disability)

Las Piñas City Provides FREE Initial Parking for Senior Citizens and PWDs (Persons With Disability)

The City Government of Las Piñas announced today that starting December 1, 2019, senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs) will be exempted from paying parking fees on the first three hours in all business establishments and offices within the city’s jurisdiction as a result of a new ordinance that was approved.

City Ordinance No. 1623-19, otherwise called the “Senior Citizens and Persons with Disability (PWDs) Free Initial Rate Parking Fee Ordinance of 2019,” as proposed by Vice Mayor April Aguilar-Nery grants the privilege to the elderly and PWDs who are either driving or on board the vehicle that will park in any commercial or pay parking areas.

“This is one way of providing social services to our senior citizens and PWDs because their welfare is one of our priorities,” Vice Mayor Aguilar-Nery said.

She also acknowledged the cooperation and support of the city’s business establishments in granting the exemption to the senior citizens and PWDs of Las Piñas.                            

The exemption covers the first three hours of the prescribed parking fee, while  the corresponding rate shall be imposed for the succeeding hour. But no charges shall be collected in the case of flat rate policy provided it does not exceed four hours.

Parking booth attendants or cashiers who may be found violating the ordinance shall be meted penalties ranging from P1,000 to P3,000 with 30 days to a maximum of six (6) months imprisonment, depending on the discretion of the court.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar welcomed the passing of the ordinance by the City Council. She said that “the ordinance will contribute to the Tuloy-tuloy na Serbisyo Program of her administration in promoting the welfare of the senior citizens and the PWDs of Las Piñas.

The City of Las Piñas has more than 80,000 registered senior citizens and 15,200 PWDs who are enjoined to avail of the privilege and other benefits as mandated by Republic Act No. 7432, known as the Senior Citizens Act of 1995.

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Las Piñas City Government signs deal with Perpetual Help Medical Center for Green Card program

Las Piñas City Government signs deal with Perpetual Help Medical Center for Green Card program

Las Piñas City hospitalization through the Green Card Program could now be availed at the Perpetual Help Medical Center of Las Piñas according Mayor Imelda T. Aguilar and Vice Mayor April Aguilar-Nery.

The Perpetual Help Medical Center-Las Piñas is the latest medical facility to accredit the Green Card Program of the City Government, in addition to Las Piñas Doctor’s Hospital, San Juan de Dios Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, and Las Piñas City Medical Center.

“We are happy to announce that we have another partner in providing hospitalization benefits to our Las Piñeros, the Perpetual Help Medical Center, as we continue to explore ways to deliver enhanced service to our kababayans,” Mayor Aguilar said.

Green Card holders among the city residents could avail of the free hospitalization services worth P30,000 per patient who would be confined at any of the accredited hospitals.

The Green Card is the hospitalization support program managed by the Mayor’s Office, City Health Office, and City Social Welfare and Development Office. It has now around 200,000 Green Card holders.

The free hospitalization program was initiated by former Mayor Vergel “Nene” Aguilar in 2000 with about 10,000 Green Card holders, including city hall employees, which was accredited at Las Piñas Doctor’s Hospital and San Juan De Dios Hospital. The number of household beneficiaries has been expanded and in nearly 20 years the program signed up with five accredited hospitals to cater to the medical needs of the Las Piñeros.

For details about the City Government’s Green Card program, click here.

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My Observations: Las Piñas Is Modernizing Public Transportation With Electric Tricycles (E-Trikes)

In recent times the City Government of Las Piñas headed by its Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar has been making a lot of progress with modernizing public transportation within its jurisdiction by releasing to local tricycle drivers and operators electric tricycle (e-trike) units that they received from the Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE donated 100 e-trikes to Las Piñas which in turn coordinated with the varied tricycle operators from the city’s twenty barangays. On April 5, 2019, the City Government’s Facebook page posted pictures of its most recent turnover of e-trikes to specific operators. Posted below is one of them.

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Las Piñas City Government officials with the recipients in a turnover ceremony at City Hall. (photo by Shawnette Ramos for City of Las Piñas Facebook page)

Right below is a picture of electric tricycle units that I photographed during my visit at Las Piñas City Hall.

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From my visit at Las Piñas City Hall.

The future of local public transportation in the city is looking bright. Once these electric tricycles go into full operation, the following is expected to happen:

  1. A more comfortable ride for passengers thanks to the new tricycle design. The e-trike is one whole unit (versus the motorcycle linked with a passenger-carrying unit of the old tricycle design).
  2. Reduction on noise pollution because there is no fuel-based engine.
  3. Reduction on air pollution because there is no fuel-based engine and no exhaust.
  4. Complete avoidance on spending money on fuel which by the liter, as of this writing, is expensive. Recharging, not refueling, is the way for E-Trike operators to recover and keep operating the next day.

Think about it carefully. E-Trikes can bring passengers through the quiet villages more safely, quieter and without adding anymore air pollution that would affect families at their homes.

Now that the benefits of E-Trikes have been discussed, it’s time to take a close look as to how these positive developments in Las Piñas happened in the first place.

The answer is City Ordinance Number 1536-18 (Series of 2018). and below is a summary of the details written on it.

The Ordinance

Formally titled “An Ordinance Allowing The Operation of E-Trike in The City of Las Pinas and Providing Guideliness Thereto.”, with “E-Trike Ordinance” as the shorter title, City Ordinance Number 1536-18 (Series of 2018) was approved by the City Council and Mayor Aguilar on May 28, 2018. As written on the Ordinance, it was deemed that the adoption of the e-trike project is a necessary step in combating unreasonable high oil prices and ending dependency on oil. The E-Trike was viewed to be eco-friendly, noise-free and air pollution-free. It has the potential to generate higher income for operators and even create new jobs.

Section 2 of the Ordinance states: The City of Las Pinas fully supports the national government’s e-tricle project. It is also committed in enforcing the applicable provisions of the Clean Air Act and in addressing community concerns about high oil prices, pollution and health hazard as well as in providing new job opportunities.

Section 4 (E-trike Franchise Grant) legalizes the use of electric tricycles within the territorial jurisdiction of the city. For this purpose, one hundred units of three-wheeled electric power driven vehicle or e-trike shall be granted franchise by the City of Las Pinas through the Sangguniang Panglunsod.

Section 5 (Guidelines) states that no e-trike franchise shall be granted unless the unit utilizes environmental-friendly batteries as determined by the Environment and Natural Resources Office, has an on-board charger and is deemed roadworthy while also possessing the required safety features.

The individual applicant is an actual resident and registered voter of the city. The transport cooperative may be granted in its name up to five franchises subject to compliance with the qualification requirements of the drivers.

For E-Trike Rent-To-Own Program or variations thereof and/or meanwhile that the ownership of the unit is not yet fully transferred to the intended buyer, a provisional franchise may be granted in favor of the proponent. Provided, that the qualification requirements of the intended buyers or drivers of the vehicle are complied with.

Section 6 (Parts Availability) – the proponent shall make available within the city such parts as may be needed for the continued operation of the E-Trike.

Section 7 (Charging Stations) – charging stations shall be established in strategic public places in the city. For the total franchises herein fixed, no less than two charging stations shall be required of the proponents to establish. In this regard, not all contemplated franchises shall be issued by the Sangguniang Panglunsod unless the establishment of the charging stations is assured or completed.

Section 8 (Incentives) – Franchisees shall be granted a 50% discount on all fees applicable to trimobiles specifically the franchise fee, the annual supervision fee, the mayor’s permit fee, the legal research fee, the sticker fee and the police inspection fee.

If you wish to obtain copies of the Ordinance, visit City Hall.

Conclusion

With the E-Trike Ordinance in full force, Las Piñas City is clearly on its way forward with modernizing public transportation within its jurisdiction using electric tricycles which serve passengers traveling between the important city roads and the villages.

As far as South Metro Manila is concerned, Las Piñas has joined the electric vehicle bandwagon with Muntinlupa City (which has e-trikes and electric jeepneys already for years) for public transportation.

The City of Parañaque meanwhile remains behind. Last time I checked at Parañaque City Hall, they don’t even have a draft ordinance needed to legalize the use of electric vehicles for public transportation.

Speaking of Parañaque, I can’t forget the embarrassing failed launch of the electric tricycle project of the BF Federation of Homeowner Associations, Inc. (BFFHAI) of 2016. From the way things looked back then, BFFHAI failed to verify if Parañaque (which occupies a huge portion of BF Homes subdivision) had any ordinance legalizing the use of electric vehicles for public transportation. Back then, Las Piñas (which occupies another large portion of BF Homes subdivision) obviously did not have a similar ordinance.

Right now in South Metro Manila, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa are leading the way for public commuters with electric vehicles.

My Observations: Have You Tried Okonomiyaki Lately?

Have you been passing by Japanese restaurants lately? In my experience, I often see people eating noodles or sushi or maki or tempura or a Japanese rice meal whenever I pass by a Japanese restaurant in the Alabang area or in BF Homes’ food strip.

The one particular food that is not too commonly spotted being served is the Okonomiyaki.

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This is the Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki as served by Fukuya Japanese Restaurant in Alabang. Below that fancy looking top are the other ingredients.

In case you are wondering, Okonomiyaki is a pan fried food that is made with batter and a variety of ingredients depending on what its type is. The cabbage is often the main ingredient. Its name is roughly translated as “to one’s liking” or “how you like”. With regards to variety or types of Okonomiyaki, the meal is most popular in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Osaka. The Okonomiyaki’s taste varies depending as to what its type is but for the most part it does not carry the sweetness of pancakes. In fact, the Okonomiyaki has more in common with pizza.

At Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City is Fukuya Japanese Restaurant which serves not one but two types of Okonomiyaki. For this article, I tried their Hiroshima variant of the meal which is pretty flavorful and in their restaurant customers can watch the chef cook it.

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The other ingredients of Fukuya’s Hiroshima Okonomiyaki are noodles and vegetables and some pieces of meat in between.

Fukuya’s Okonomiyaki has a nicely decorated top which is edible and below it are the other ingredients mainly cabbage, noodles and some meat pieces in between.

I noticed that it takes some unique skills to cook Okonomiyaki which can be fun to watch at times. While there are some Japanese restaurants that cook the meal in the kitchen for the customers waiting, there are other restaurants that allow customers cook it themselves.

So, have you eaten Okonomiyaki at a Japanese restaurant lately?


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My Observations: Las Piñas Cafe

Today I managed to visit a particular new place in the City of Las Piñas which has been getting some attention lately. It is called Las Piñas Cafe and it is located just steps outside of the main building of City Hall.

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Las Piñas Cafe from the outside. It was recently inaugurated by the City Government of Las Piñas led by incumbent Mayor Imelda Aguilar.

Currently operating on one floor, Las Piñas Cafe is a canteen which has a large floor space with many tables and chairs (estimated sitting capacity of at least 80 people) kept cool with air-condition units.

Upon entering the front doors, you will find to the left is selection of meals and drinks where customers can line-up and pay for. There is also another spot of snacks (note: junk food) to choose from.

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The self-service counter for meals and drinks.
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A selection of snacks on display.

Out of curiosity I bought a drink and sat at one of the many chairs across the room to drink and watch. In my observation, the place is pretty comfortable. I would not be surprised that very soon, the place will be occupied by more people (notably City Government employees and visitors) seeking comfort and refreshment.

With the summer season approaching, I can easily imagine a lot of people spending time inside the cafeteria to escape the scorching heat.

According to the City Government of Las Piñas, the Las Piñas Cafe actually had its soft opening last year. The formal and full opening happened very recently which was done by Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar together with her daughter (and running-mate for this May’s election) April, Vice Mayor Louie Bustamante, members of the City Council and heads of varied City Government departments.

The construction of Las Piñas Cafe was described to be part of the mayor’s infrastructure development program.

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A view from the far end of the cafeteria.

If you have time to visit City Hall, I suggest visiting their comfortable and cool cafeteria.


Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your project or business, check out my services.

 

Parañaque still has no ordinance to legitimize electric vehicles for public transportation

 

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On display at the grounds of Parañaque City Hall was this large solar-powered electric tricycle (e-trike). The irony is that Parañaque itself has no law to legitimize electric vehicles for public transportation.

The love and care for the natural environment is often present in the minds of people who manage the city government. Really nobody wants to live in a city filled with scattered garbage, lots of air pollution and poor drainage.

An extension of the care for the environment is the focus on the use of electric vehicles which generate much less noise and much less air pollution. Here in the Southern portion of Metro Manila, the cities of Muntinlupa and Las Pinas respectively have laws that legitimized the use of electric vehicles for public transportation purposes.

This means that commuters can choose to ride a jeepney or a tricycle that runs on electric power whenever they are available in public. When they do ride an e-vehicle, there is much less noise and air pollution created by their ride. Potentially more e-vehicles replacing those gasoline/diesel-burning vehicles can bring down air pollution and improve the quality of air in the city.

Recently the Department of Energy (DOE) donated 150 electric tricycle units to the City of Muntinlupa and 100 electric tricycle units to the City of Las Pinas (which subsequently turned them over to local tricycle operators).

As for the nearby City of Parañaque……ZERO!

Considering the huge population of Parañaque and the City Government’s strong advocacy of environmental care and city cleanliness under the leadership of incumbent mayor Edwin Olivarez, it is weird that nothing has been done to legitimize the use of e-vehicles for public transportation.

I was at Parañaque City Hall on January 23 and during my visit I checked thoroughly with officials there to verify if there is any existing law (or city ordinance) that would make public transportation with electric vehicles happen.

As it turned out, officials confirmed to me that no such ordinance has been approved until now.

What is even more disturbing, as I kept on digging for answers, was the confirmation that there is not even a draft proposal submitted for legislation!

For as long as no city ordinance has been approved to legalize the use of e-vehicles for public transportation, Parañaque’s streets (including those inside villages) will be occupied by fossil fuel-guzzling jeepneys, buses and tricycles that are not only making the air dirty but also remain noisy and even unsafe and uncomfortable (due to outdated vehicular designs) for commuters to ride.

This also means that no village administrator can just establish and fully operate its own line of electric tricycles within the city. Back in 2016 in BF Homes, the BF Federation of Homeowner Associations, Inc. (BFFHAI) launched its line of electric tricycles with mayor Olivarez and vice mayor Rico Golez as special guests. Because they were in Parañaque (which has a huge jurisdiction of BF Homes subdivision) and there was no ordinance to legalize the use of electric vehicles for public transportation within the city, the BFFHAI’s e-trikes were not accepted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and they were not fully operated. As such, those electric tricycles got wasted and was limited to being parked at the side of the BF Homes clubhouse along Elsie Gatches street. Because pictures of those parked electric tricycles became public viewed, the federation quietly had them removed.

Until now Parañaque remains behind Muntinlupa and Las Pinas when it comes to using technology to improve public transportation and reducing air and noise pollution at the same time. For the past few years, Muntinlupa has electric jeepneys on public roads and some electric tricycles serving villagers. In Las Pinas, the number of electric tricycles serving local communities is slowly growing which is the result of their City Council and Mayor approving the “E-trike Ordinance” (City Ordinance Number 1536-18, Series of 2018) on May 28, 2018. Back to Parañaque, no legislation means no progressive change will happen.

It is notable that Parañaque lost its edge when it comes to city competitiveness nationwide. According to the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index 2018 released during the 6th Regional Competitiveness Summit, Parañaque ranked only #21. Even provincial cities like Bacolod and Naga are way ahead at numbers 9 and 10 respectively. With these mentioned, Parañaqu

After finding out the truth about the lack of a law for the public transportation use of e-vehicles in Parañaque, I walked out of the building and as I moved on further on City Hall grounds, I saw two electric tricycle units (made by Star 8) on display at an environment-oriented exhibit. I pictured the more elaborate e-trike (the one above).

Wow. Think about that. Electric tricycles on display in a city that does not even allow electric vehicles to be used to serve commuters publicly.

Before I forget, let me state that the City Government was celebrating the 18th anniversary of Republic Act Number 9003 which is the national law on ecological solid waste management which itself emphasizes care and responsibility of the environment.

Now when will Parañaque’s officials start working to legitimize e-vehicles for public transportation? If you are a certified city resident who wants to see those fuel-burning public utility vehicles be replaced gradually with e-vehicles, consider taking time out to write letters to the city government officials. Even though there is an upcoming democratic exercise in the form of a local election on May 2019, communicating with your officials is still recommended.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format.