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Gov’t looking to regulate e-vehicles

by Kiko Cueto

THE government is looking to regulate the use of electric vehicles along major thoroughfares, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said on Thursday.

MMDA Acting Chairman Atty. Don Artes, LTO Chief Atty. Vigor Mendoza, LTFRB Chair Atty. Teofilo Guadiz III, DOTr Usec. Jose Lim, and other officials met with the Metro Manila traffic heads to discuss the existing laws, policies, guidelines, ordinances, and programs concerning electric vehicles of both the national and local government units.

“The proliferation of e-vehicles has become a cause for concern. The LGUs have laid down their concerns, existing ordinances, regulations, and programs concerning e-vehicles; these will be reconciled with the policies of the national government,” according to Atty. Artes.

Artes claimed that e-vehicle units, e-tricycles, e-bikes, e-pedicables, e-scooters, push carts, and kuligligs on the roads “not only slow down the flow of traffic but also pose grave risks and danger to the lives of concerned drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.”

One of the sales pitches of vendors of these e-vehicles, the MMDA chief noted, is that users do not need to obtain a license or have the units registered.

“When these e-vehicle users violate the law, how can we issue a traffic violation ticket if the users do not possess a license? We also cannot charge the vehicle owners because they are not registered,” Artes pointed out.

The San Mateo Municipality in the Province of Rizal had implemented a ban on tricycles and e-bikes on major thoroughfares.

They said that they are following the order of the Interior and Local Government.

According to data from the MMDA, minors are seen driving e-vehicles on national highways, some drivers do not wear helmets or protective gears, some users traverse their units in the middle of the highways, among others.

“In coming up with a new set of regulations, we shall address these concerns, particularly safety issues. We will consolidate and harmonize all existing rules and regulations as well as ongoing programs of the LGUs and even national government concerning e-vehicles to make it comprehensive. This will also cover not just Metro Manila but nationwide,” Artes said.

Artes said Metro Manila LGUs have been asked to submit by Monday a list of their own ordinances, regulations, and programs, particularly the use of the units for livelihood, to iron out the kinks.

In response, Atty. Mendoza said registration of e-vehicles and requiring the users to obtain driver’s licenses are among the possible changes.

“We will take a second look at the suggestions of the LGUs and propose the appropriate measures to regulate the use of e-vehicles in major thoroughfares,” said Mendoza, adding that they will also submit their recommendations to the DOTr.

Meanwhile, Guadiz said they are also concerned with the increasing number of e-trikes as they hinder the government’s plan on modernization of public utility vehicles (PUVs).

“These e-trikes compete with legitimate PUVs in getting passengers. We are coordinating with the MMDA and LTO to apprehend these units that do not have franchises to operate as PUVs,” said Guadiz.

Aside from the MMDA, also present were officials from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

All sought to regulate the use of electric motor vehicles and harmonize existing policies on them amid the growing number of e-vehicles on Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares.

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