BUSINESSES, PUBLIC SECTOR, AND CIVIL SOCIETY PLEDGE TO WORK TOGETHER TO PROMOTE ACTIVE TRANSPORT

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PRESS RELEASE | 05 March 2020 

Over 70 businesses were tapped to pledge end-of-trip facilities and other efforts to promote active transport in a discussion between national and local governments as well as the private sector. 

The webinar, entitled Moving As One: Public Private Cooperation on Active Mobility, provided a platform for public-private engagement on building bicycle-friendly businesses and communities. Jointly organized by the Department of Health – Health Promotion Bureau (DOH – HPB), the Makati Business Club (MBC), and the Move As One Coalition, it featured segments from Acting Socioeconomic Planning  Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Atty. Mark Steven Co Pastor, and DOH – HPB Director Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho, as well as from transport and planning officers from the Cities of Pasig, Makati, and Manila: Mr. Anton Siy, Atty. Michael ‘Don’ Camina, and Arch. Dennis Lacuna, respectively. 

“Improving access to mobility while we learn to live with the virus is the key in achieving economic recovery,” said Acting Sec. Chua, emphasizing the current land transport supply shortage and its effects on the economy, as well as the growing demand for active transport in the Philippines. “We should proceed as fast as we can. We already have a plan [for active transport]. We have to implement this fast.”

Meanwhile, ASec. Pastor recognized the significant contributions that the private sector could make to promote active transport. “To disseminate further the objectives of the project and the guidelines therewith, it is vital that we link arms in educating the public, and the private sector plays a big role in the massive information and education campaign for this project,” he said, as he presented plans for protected metro-wide bicycle lane networks in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

Dr. Ho echoed the emphasis on the role of the private sector. “People will not be able to practice healthy behaviors as long as the structures in which they are part of are not supportive of these behaviors,” she said. Dr. Ho noted that a strong policy basis, political will, and capacity to roll out bicycle-friendly infrastructure are already present in some LGUs. She challenged the private sector and her fellow speakers to support these LGUs’ efforts and to build capacity in other LGUs. 

Local transport and planning officers from Pasig, Makati, and Manila shared challenges they face in establishing bicycle infrastructure in their cities. Mr. Anton Siy, Head of Transport at Pasig City said that “There is a huge potential for cycling to improve how businesses cope and recover during this pandemic.” He added: “[Bicycle parking] shouldn’t be seen as an added cost for their businesses, but it’s also good for them, and for the environment, and for the city… ‘If you build it, they will come’ is true.”

Architect Dennis Lacuna, head of the Manila City Planning and Development office also emphasized user comfort in the development of LGU bicycle lane network plans. “I think people should want to bike, not just because it’s safe and efficient, but because it’s enjoyable and better than riding a car or taking a jeep,” he said. 

Atty. Don Camina from the Makati Public Safety Department emphasized the importance of learning from others: “It is really important that we also get the participation of the private sector with regard to the plans. […] This will include all of the necessary needs of the cyclists. […] Whatever plans that we do in Makati is going to benefit all the cyclists as well as the other road users.”

Dr. Robert Siy said that the pandemic highlighted the long-term need to transition away from dependence on private motor vehicles. “Worldwide, the consensus among urban planners, health experts, and transportation specialists is that everyone can be better off if more people switch to active transport,” he said. “The private sector also has a key role in transforming our mobility culture through their public messages, the assistance they can offer to their customers and employees, and by their bike-friendly investments and policies.”

The webinar is part of an on-going joint campaign to promote active transport among the private sector. Pledges by the business sector to provide end-of-trip facilities will be tracked by the DOH, the MBC, and the Move As One Coalition. 

The Makati Business Club’s Business For Biking Program, in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands, aims to promote biking as a sustainable solution to the lack of safe public transportation options for Filipino workers. Meanwhile, the DOH-HPB sits as the Secretariat of the Interagency Technical Working Group on Active Transport, and is working with the DILG, DPWH, and DOTr to roll out metro-wide bicycle lane networks in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao. Finally, the Move As One Coalition and its 140 affiliate organizations and 77,000 affiliate advocates continue to lobby for a safer, more humane, and more inclusive transportation system in the Philippines. 

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