Typhoon Ursula prompts Aklan town to suspend total tricycle phaseout in Boracay

AKLAN, Philippines – The full implementation of the tricycle phaseout will be suspended for the meantime until the operations of the municipal government in Boracay Island are back to normal.

The phaseout of gasoline-powered tricycles, which was supposed to be completed by December 31, 2019, was affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Ursula in the province of Aklan, acting Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista said.

The decision to maintain "status quo" came on the heels of Typhoon Ursula and the devastation it caused. Initiatives to immediately address the garbage problem collection and shortage of fuel in the island are being done by stakeholders and the municipal government of Malay. 

"Nahirapan ang ating mga electronic tricycles (e-trikes) na maka-recharge dahil may mga lugar sa isla na wala pang kuryente," he added. (Our electronic tricycles are having a hard time recharging because there are areas in the island that still don't have electricity.)

Power restoration and rebuilding efforts are underway in the 3 barangays of Manocmanoc, Balabag, and Yapak. Thousands of residents and establishments were left without electricity on December 25, 2019, after Typhoon Ursula caused power outage.

Last November 11, 2019, Bautista issued an executive order ordering the Malay Transportation Office to enforce the guidelines of the e-trike modernization program in Malay, Aklan.

But some groups appealed to Bautista and the Sangguniang Bayan to defer the phaseout of the remaining 170 public motorized tricycles with franchise in the island. The total phaseout, they said, will result to massive displacement and unemployment.

Bautista said the shift from old tricycles to more environment-friendly e-trikes will promote fuel efficiency and clean air.

"Nag-allow rin tayo ng mga single motorcycles maka-biyahe. Kahit may problema tayo dahil sa Ursula, marami pa ring turista ang dumarating sa Boracay. Keeping Boracay a safe place to live is also our priority," the acting mayor said.

(We allowed single motorcycles to operate. Even if we have a problem because of Ursula, many tourists are still arriving in Boracay.)

Meanwhile, at least 40 mini-buses of the Boracay Land Transport Multi-purpose Cooperative are on standby to augment around 350 e-trikes operating in Boracay Island. – Rappler.com