Muntinlupa City Government Praised for Business Friendliness

Muntinlupa City Government Praised for Business Friendliness

During a consultation meeting and presentation of local medium and long-term development plans held at Vivere Hotel, Filinvest City, Alabang in Muntinlupa City, the members of the business community lauded the local initiatives of City Government of Muntinlupa.

IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines Executive Director for External Affairs and Investor Relations Nicki Agcaoili praised Muntinlupa LGU for facilitating a “business-friendly environment” in the city.

“Among other LGUs in the region, Muntinlupa City is the easiest to transact with,” Agcaoili said during the July 12 event.

Agcaoili also noted how they have achieved and exceeded targets after locating in the city.

Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi expressed his thanks to business executives who attended the consultation meeting and vowed to strengthen partnership with them. This was affirmed by City Councilor Raul Corro who expressed the City Council’s commitment to address the business sector’s needs through local legislation.

For their part, City Government officials presented the projects to be implemented over next three years. Private sector execs expressed their feedback in a focus group discussion.

The consultation meeting was facilitated by the Business Permits and Licensing Office and the Local Economic and Investments Promotions Office.

In 2017 and 2018, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry hailed Muntinlupa City as the Most Business-Friendly LGU in the country. This established the city as the standout city for business in South Metro Manila.

A pioneer in the EODB Act, the City of Muntinlupa is the first local government unit (LGU) to introduce the Single Window Transaction – Modified Business One-Stop Shop, a single-interface business-registration process in which a business permit registration application can be finished in up to 15 minutes only.

MSME development is also a priority in the city through the Tulong Negosyo program (formerly Dagdag Puhunan program) which offers zero-percent interest loan assistance from 2,000 to 150,000 pesos.

On top of financial assistance, the local government provides coaching and mentoring sessions to budding entrepreneurs which include business legal management, accounting for non-accountants, and financial management, among others.

The City Government organizes business forums to determine the business sector’s inputs and feedback on development agendas. This in turn helps the City Government address their needs.

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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: Still No Draft Proposal For Electric Vehicles At Parañaque City (February 21, 2019 update)

I revisited Parañaque City Hall today to find out if there were any breakthroughs with regards to legalizing/legitimizing the use of electric vehicles for public transportation use within the city.

The result of my visit? NO PROGRESS whatsoever! According to my sources there, NOT EVEN A DRAFT PROPOSAL was made nor submitted by any member of the City Council until now (February 21, 2019).

This lack of progress to modernize public transportation in Parañaque is indeed disturbing. The City Government of Muntinlupa approved legislation for electric vehicles for public transportation years ago which explains why electric jeepneys (e-jeep) and electric tricycles (e-trikes) are present within the city and commuters have been riding them. At nearby Las Piñas City, their approval of an electric tricycle ordinance since May 2018 resulted their receiving of a donation of one hundred e-trike units from the Department of Energy and already many of those said units have bee deployed to barangays around the city through the different Tricycle Operators and Drivers Associations (TODAs).

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On November 2018, City Government officials of Las Pinas formally received from the Department of Energy (DOE) one hundred electric tricycle (e-trike) units as a donation and the City’s Electric Tricycle ordinance (approved May 2018) made that possible. (photo source – City of Las Pinas Facebook page)
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A few of the 100 electric tricycles (e-trikes) donated by the DOE to Las Pinas. (photo source – City of Las Pinas Facebook page)

Going back to Parañaque, which was where I grew up in long ago, it is mind boggling that even though the national government has been heavily pushing for public utility vehicles modernization (or PUV Modernization) using technology that is cleaner, safe, more comfortable and less noisy, the City Government under mayor Edwin Olivarez still has not made any moves to legalize e-vehicles as a viable form of public transportation for the commuters. Safe to say, Parañaque is now behind Las Pinas and Muntinlupa on PUV modernization and commuters have no choice but to ride those noisy, unsafe and air-polluting tricycles and jeepneys.

No political will, no legislation and certainly no PUV modernization.

What is very funny is that mayor Olivarez has posed for pictures with electric vehicles more than once! Look at these pictures I found.

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Parañaque’s mayor (7th from left) posing for pictures during the July 2016 launch of the FAILED electric tricycle project of the BF Federation of Homeowner Association, Inc. (BFFHAI), BFCOM and Barangay BF Homes. The project was launched but never went into full operation due to legal and technical problems. Of course, the City had NO ORDINANCE to legitimize such a project. It comes to show that the project handlers failed to do their research on the legality of e-vehicles for public transportation. (photo source – Ecos Efi Facebook page)
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In April 2017, Parañaque’s mayor (seated at the back) rode a solar-electric tricycle of Star 8 during a demonstration at Parañaque City Hall. It was all just a show. (photo source – Mayor Edwin Olivarez Facebook page)

All that posing in front of photographers. Smiling with guests. Looking handsome. Still no breakthrough!

With the next local election happening on May this year, it remains to be seen if the incumbent City Government officials will do anything to improve public transportation for the many commuters of the city. Those commuters have no choice but to endure the high noise and dirty air when traveling within the city.

If you are a concerned citizen and you want reforms to happen, better write formal letters to the City Council members, the City Administrator (Fernando Ding Soriano), the Vice Mayor (Rico Golez) and the Mayor himself.

Watch out for my next electric vehicles update. I got something significant coming.


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