MANILA— As Marawi City recovers from the ashes of a terrorist siege that lasted for five months, residents are slowly returning to the life they knew before the conflict began.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) held a ceremonial signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the donation of 200 electric-powered tricycles (e-trikes) built using Japanese technology.
The e-trikes are air and noise pollution-free, easily driven, and can be charged using any 220-volt outlet, which can be found anywhere.
The lightweight, one-piece shell of the e-trike is more rigid than conventional, externally attached side cabs of current gas-powered tricycles and are compliant with the Road Worthiness Guidelines of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).Each e-trike will seat five passengers and feature a passenger access on the side, which adds to the safety of the vehicle.
DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi led the signing of the MOU, turning over the e-trikes to TFBM Chairman, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra.
“This donation will surely help Marawi City rise again, and is a tangible start for the government to show Marawi residents that we are really committed and sincere,” del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said around 250 hectares of the city have been damaged by the conflict, but when the area is developed, it will become a modern commercial district.
An eco-friendly central business district and tourist attraction is part of the development plan, which makes the e-trikes a perfect addition to the attraction, the government’s housing and urban development chief said.
“These e-trikes represent a means to support livelihood and jumpstart the increased economic activity in the area,” Cusi said.
Cusi also gave the assurance that the DOE and the stakeholders in the Mindanao region are expediting the establishment of charging and service stations to increase the durability of the e-trikes.
After the ceremonial signing, the energy chief sat at the cockpit of the e-trike for a spin around the DOE compound with Del Rosario, Mayor Gandamra and other guests as his passengers. “These e-trikes will go a long way in alleviating the plight of internally displaced people (IDP) of Marawi City. One of the issues being addressed by the city government is the lack of livelihood for the IDPs and the lack of environment-friendly transportation,” Gandamra said.
Gandamra added the donation from the DOE and the national government is very timely.
“Not only will the IDPs be able to move around during their day-to-day activities, but it will also help them in moving on. Your generosity with these e-trikes will go a long way in helping the IDPs of Marawi City rise again,” the city’s mayor said.
At present, Gandamra is concerned with the lack of transportation within the city and the fact that some unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of the passengers.
“Some sectors are taking advantage of the sparse availability of transport vehicles, resulting in a lack of standardization in fares, which is an additional burden to the residents,” he said. “Initially, the local government and TFBM established a ‘Libreng Sakay’ (free ride), but with this e-trike donation, things will get a little easier.” (PNA)