In a bid to solve various related issues and problems faced by the country today, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has turned to a basic yet very popular machine that has been in use for centuries worldwide: the bicycle.
Marcos filed Senate Bill 2924, or the proposed Bicycle Commuters Incentives Act of 2011, which seeks to grant incentives to promote the use of bicycles and other safe and viable non-motorized transport vehicles as a mode of daily commuting and travel to and from the workplaces, school, church, malls and other places.
“This proposed bill seeks to incentivize bicycle use as a mode of daily transport and the specific targets are the employees and students who shall be direct participants in the fiscal incentive program or system, as well as schools, companies and other institutions that shall provide the conditions for the system. Riders and direct users are benefited by bicycle-related facilities and tax deduction incentives, while indirect participants are benefited also by way of tax deductions for expenses and corporate social responsibility programs,’ Marcos said.
Ultimately, Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, SB 2924, by creating a bike-commuting culture as a result of the incentives program, could simultaneously address the ever-worsening myriad of related social issues of the country, such as climate change, air pollution, traffic and road congestion, rising costs of gasoline and other commodities, personal health problems and other related social issues.
“SB 2924 seeks to introduce a world-renowned approach to solve the primordial problems of our society. Studies have consistently shown that bicycle use has wide-reaching benefits, from environmental and urban planning to public health. General and regular bicycle use by the public lessen use of motorized transport, road congestion and demand for parking facilities, ultimately translating to significantly reduced carbon emissions of the country, also reduced cardiovascular health risks to the general public health,” Marcos said. He mentioned that bicycle users would also enjoy savings on transportation cost, in view of the lessened dependence on motorized transport system, which is admittedly more expensive.
Marcos noted that government should harness and take advantage of the fact that bicycle use in the Philippines remains to be popular these days, whether as mode of exercise and recreation, or mode of regular means of transportation, as evidenced by the thousands of recreational riders and group of bicycle-riding Filipino workers and laborers who can be seen sharing the road with motorized transport users.
Marcos also explained that the separate but intertwined issues of the inherent riding hazards and road safety issues that come with bicycle-commuting must also be addressed by another bill to allow for a more comprehensive and systemic approach to the legislative policy.
“A coordinate bill should be passed. The bills of Senators Manuel Villar and Miriam Defensor-Santiago SBNs 2688 (Bicycle Act of 2011) and 2789 (Bike-Friendly Communities Act) appropriately address these issues,” he said.