TAGUIG CITY — The Department of Energy (DOE) formally turned over today 24 units of energy-efficient cars to select government agencies that were enlisted as “endorsers of clean technology” and “harbingers of the future of transportation” to help test and promote energy-efficient vehicles, popularly known as “hybrid” cars, in the Philippines.
DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa led the turnover at the DOE main office, which involved the first of a three-lot package comprising the ¥500-million Non-Project Grant Aid with Japan for the deployment of some 77 Japan-made “next-generation vehicles” (i.e., hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles) in the country.
“Hybrid” vehicles are those that are powered both by a gasoline engine and an electric motor.
According to DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi, one major aspect of the DOE’s job is to “give distinct focus to the promotion and mainstreaming of efficient, emerging and advanced energy solutions to manage our energy utilization and consumption levels—from the households all the way to the energy-intensive sectors.”
Cusi said that mainstreaming energy-efficient vehicles in the country is an essential component of the DOE’s strategies to achieve its goals of energy security and energy sustainability.
“This program aims to promote the local use and patronage of efficient and environment-friendly alternative fuel vehicles, by deploying demo units and consequently developing familiarity with their operation, maintenance and service,” Cusi said.
He emphasized that the greatest impact of the program’s success lies in its potential to “trigger a paradigm shift in the mindset of the public so that we could all soon witness a dramatic reduction in both our fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”
Based on DOE’s estimates, the fuel consumption of hybrid vehicles is 35 percent more efficient than the conventional gas-powered vehicle. Moreover, the use of hybrid vehicles in the Philippines is expected to garner an annual savings of 12 million barrels of gasoline, on top of a substantial reduction in carbon emissions.
For this program, the 2017 model Toyota Prius was chosen in view of its high-quality build and the availability of maintenance service in the Philippines. Among the recipients of the hybrid cars in today’s formal turnover are the Office of the President, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Finance, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Transportation, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Economic Development Authority, Department of Science and Technology, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
A significant part of the grant aid also includes the deployment of a total of 53 hybrid cars to the Eastern Visayas region to support the rehabilitation and emergency response efforts in Yolanda-hit areas, with the PNP, Philippine Information Agency, Office of Civil Defense, Land Transportation Office, Environmental Management Bureau, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Science and Technology, and DTI as primary beneficiaries. The turnover ceremony of the vehicles for Region 8 is scheduled on May 25 and July 3 of this year.