"Other countries have bicycle lanes to lower their carbon footprint, reduce pollution and promote a healthy lifestyle."
It seems the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority had beaten the Department of Transportation to the draw in making major roads in Metro Manila friendlier to bikers.
Last week, Senator Francis Tolentino called on the DOTr to allow bicycles to travel on bigger roads and not just secondary roads. He made the suggestion with transportation still limited in various parts of the country due to quarantine measures set up by the national government to curb the further spread of COVID-19.
Metro Manila, along with Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City, and Laguna, will still be under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until May 31.
But with or without the MECQ or ECQ or even the GCQ, Tolentino projects public transport under the new normal to operate at half its capacity. Thus, there is a need for other modes of transportation, including bicycles.
Biking will not only alleviate the lack of the means of transportation, according to the lawmaker, but can also help in controlling pollution. He noted that progressive metropolitan areas in various parts of the world had bicycle lanes to lower their carbon footprint, reduce pollution and promote a healthy lifestyle.
An advocate of biking as a form of transportation himself, Tolentino established bicycle lanes along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue during his term as MMDA chair.
But while he reported that the DOTr had already started talks with the MMDA and local government units for the establishment of passageways for bicycles, MMDA, had already secured the outer lane of EDSA, lining it up with traffic cones, designating them as exclusively for bikers.
Nice move, Senator Tolentino and the MMDA.
Last week, the Energy Regulatory Commission ordered a six-month staggered payment for electric bills.
Under its directive, households with a monthly consumption of 200 kilowatt-hour will enjoy a six-month staggered payment for their electric consumptions while households which consumed above 200 kwh are allowed to pay in four-month installments.
Which then makes me wonder. Why would ERC allow those with lower bill a longer time frame for paying but a shorter one with higher electric bills?
Again, this appears to be premise on the silly notion that those in the middle have more capacity to settle their bills than those in the lower class or those consuming below 200 kwh. As if the middle class were the less affected in this pandemic.
Has the ERC forgotten that the middle class’ income was affected when almost the entire country was placed under community quarantine? That while their income had drastically diminished, the cost of living had soared above the heavens, thanks to businesses taking advantage of the situation and additional cost which were never anticipated – the cost of delivery for every online purchases, for instance -- while everyone was ordered to stay home.
So, why a different standard for the middle class? Maybe the ERC could reconsider it directive.
There’s some sort of good news however for those still suffering the electric bill shocks.
According to the Manila Electric Company, they are now considering installing smart meters to avoid bill shocks in the future.
Welcoming the suggestion, Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon said smart metering would the proper technological solution to prevent the same unfortunate situation from happening again.
He however wants to clarify who will shoulder the new meter and how it will be paid for, if ever it is borne by the customer.