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Philippine bank set to make lending available for electric vehicles

Shown is one of the electric jeepneys produced by the EJeepney Transport Corp. (Photo from iCSC)
The online news portal of TV5

A Philippine commercial bank is set to announce the country’s first lending facility for electric vehicles.

This was announced on Friday by Yuri Sarmiento, chief executive officer of Ejeepney Transport Corporation, which manufactures battery-powered vehicles.

The company partnered with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC)—a non-government organization working on sustainable energy solutions and fair climate policy—to introduce the use of electric jeepneys in several cities, including Makati and Pasig.

While Sarmiento failed to identify the bank, he nevertheless expressed optimism that demand for electric vehicles will rise, especially since users can now borrow money to buy them.

Sarmiento made these remarks on Friday after the pioneering eJeepney received the top award of sustainability jurors once more, this time from a country-wide contest dubbed the Inclusive Mobility Challenge.

Awarding ceremonies for the competition were led by organizers from the Ateneo School of Government, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Metro Manila Development Authority.

"This is foremost an award to all eJeepney commuters and drivers who through their patronage prove each day the commercial and technical viability of our initiative," Sarmiento said. Sarmiento received the grand prize with Reina Garcia, program head of EJTC's partner Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities or iCSC.

The pioneering eJeepneys first captured national and international attention when it was launched by iCSC in 2007. The iconic, emission-free public utility vehicle received the main prize for transport solutions in 2008 in a global contest run by the Ecopolis Program of Discovery Channel.

Funded by Stichting Doen, an Amsterdam-based foundation, iCSC was awarded the prestigious Fr. Neri Satur Award for Environmental Heroism in 2009 for its work on sustainable transport.

"Since its launching five years ago, the eJeepneys have been driven by the very criteria used by Inclusive Mobility to assess its contestants. Green innovation is at the heart of our work together with social entrepreneurship. We are excited to receive the award," Sarmiento said.

The Ateneo School of Government and Rockefeller Foundation teamed up to run the Innovation at the Base of the Pyramid in Southeast Asia Program, which is implementing the Inclusive Mobility Project. The contest was launched in June, with a broad public call inviting nominations and applications to the competition. The contest evaluated participants largely through the yardsticks of social innovation, sustainability, replicability, scalability and evidence of successes.

“All of us dream of a Metro Manila where people, including the poor, the children, the elderly, and PWDs, can get around in comfort and with dignity,” said Dr. Marie Danielle V. Guillen, manager of the Inclusive Mobility project. “The innovation energy shown by the Challenge winners gives us a lot of hope. It reassures us that ingenious Filipinos and their groups are already working hard to make that dream a reality.”

The second and third prizes were awarded to Bikes for the Philippines, a project that gives bikes to help students stay in school, and the Wheelmobile initiative which provides transportation for under-privileged persons with disabilities.