July 25, 2019 at 10:50 pm
Vito Barcelo and Joel E. Zurbano
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has ordered the demolition of a fire volunteer outpost and a barangay outpost that occupied streets in Binondo and Quiapo districts as part of the city government’s program to clear streets of obstructions.
Domagoso led the demolition of a barangay outpost and a grotto at Gonzalo Puyat Street (formerly Raon Street) in Quiapo, which was built there six years ago.
The Manila chief executive also ordered the demolition of Fire Volunteer Outpost Hall 289 Zone 27 in Ongpin as part of the city’s traffic decongestion project.
The mayor appealed to all barangay officials to voluntarily demolish barangay halls that occupy streets, saying he will help find them places to build or rent barangay halls.
Meanwhile, Domagaso on Thursday said he is considering pulling out electronic tricycles from the city and canceling the privilege given to their operators, saying e-trikes are not registered and the project was used by the previous city administration only for political purposes.
“These e-trikes are not motorized, and it cannot be registered by the government. They have no [public transport] franchise but they have a privilege and were recognized by the local [government],” said Domagaso at the sidelines of the first Metro Manila Council meeting held at the main office of the Metro Manila Development Authority in Makati City.
“They were being accommodated. They have a group, and their group is being used only for political purposes. Political accommodation because their votes would go to waste. Now [MMDA] Chairman [Danilo] Lim is telling us they should be given attention because they are everywhere,” the mayor said.
“[E-trikes] go wherever they want to go. They take over routes, unlike jeeps that have routes but are penalized when they cut trips,” added Domagoso.
MMDA officials have also classified e-trikes as private “toys” and not transport vehicles.
Domagoso’s move was ahead on the Department of Interior and Local Government’s order to Metro Manila mayors to clear public roads in their respective areas of any obstructions within 60 days.
DILG Undersecretary for Operations Epimaco Densing said the department will issue a memorandum circular for this order next week.
President Rodrigo Duterte met with local executives on Wednesday at the Manila Hotel, directing them to reclaim public roads or risk suspension.
The city government launched the E-Trikes system project in February 2016, which according to then-mayor Joseph Estrada, aimed to promote tourism, give the passengers an alternative mode of transportation, and help reduce air pollution in Manila.
Estrada had said the innovative E-Trikes project also aimed to promote environment-friendly transport and increase the income of tricycle drivers who would own the new vehicles through affordable amortizations.
The E-trikes were initially fielded in the Ermita and Malate districts, known tourist spots in Manila.
An E-trike runs on gel-type batteries than can be fully charged in only five hours. It can carry up to seven passengers and has a maximum speed of 45 kilometers per hour.
The Estrada administration then clarified that the new transport system was launched not to phase out tricycles, pedicabs, and “kuligligs” (bicycles with small motors and sidecars) but to gradually introduce e-trikes to the local transport industry.
Compared to tricycles and kuligligs that feed on petroleum fuel, E-trikes are more profitable and easier to operate and maintain, the city added.