WITH all the local and international push and support for the institutionalization of "sustainable growth" using renewable energy sources, the Philippines is now on an upward motion towards a climate-resilient and climate-smart Philippines.

Through the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the entire bureaucracy is now being led toward a more climate-care-sensitive and energy-efficient direction. The Climate Change Commission (CCC) is the lead policymaking body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate government programs and ensure mainstreaming of climate change in national, local and sectoral development plans toward a climate-resilient and climate-smart Philippines. The Climate Change Commission has now found itself playing a major role in one of the priority thrusts of the administration of President Marcos. It is only fitting that the chairman of the CCC is none other than the President himself. He is also joined by a well-balanced group of expert diplomats, lawyers and environmental planners. One of its commissioners is well known to me, Commissioner Albert de la Cruz, who has been one of the foremost expert environmental planners and renewable energy advocates in our country for many years now. I have known him to be a principled and effective government servant. With the President at the helm and with a competent team behind him, the prospects of the climate change campaign of the country are surely very promising.

One important development toward sustainability on which the country is now gaining a lot of ground is on the transition of vehicles into electric. This holds true for both the public and private sector.

The electric vehicle (EV) is nothing new in the Philippines although its popularity has been limited because in the past the cost was simply too high. But this is no longer the case today. One can strongly argue now that it is worth buying an electric car especially with the sky rocketing prices of fuel. On the other hand, purchasing an EV will absolutely save you more money.

Notwithstanding the initial up-front cost, the EV owner will eventually recover and even save more during the EV's useful life.

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More and more people today have been bitten by the EV bug as many have already replaced their gas- or diesel- consuming vehicles with EVs. It is a certainty that as technology improves, the cost of owning one will also be much less as the supply will also increase. It would not be far-fetched to say that the EV's popularity among the working class would be expected to increase as access and affordability become more prevalent. Needless to say, electric vehicles will continue to look more attractive when juxtaposed against the rising oil prices.

According to studies, the global market for EVs has been growing at a compounded annualized growth rate (CAGR) of 21.7 percent, and by 2030 it is projected to balloon from 8.1 million units to 39.21 million.

One of the most important developments in the Philippines when it comes to electric vehicles are the recent legislations. On April 15, 2022, Republic Act 11697, or what is commonly known as the "Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act" (Evida), became effective. The Evida Law outlines the regulatory framework and creates a comprehensive road map for the operation of EVs in the Philippines.

To ensure that the objective of developing the electric vehicle industry is achieved, the Evida Law also mandated the creation of a Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry, or Crevi, which will be the national road map and development plan for the EV industry to accelerate the development, commercialization and utilization of EVs in the country. It was also stated that the "Crevi shall be incorporated in the Philippine Energy Plan and the National Transport Policy."

According to the law, the Crevi shall include four important aspects and components: 1) EVs and charging stations; 2) manufacturing; 3) research and development; and 4) human resource development.

It also tasked the Department of Energy (DoE) to come up with uniform and streamlined rules and regulations on the use and maintenance of charging stations and related equipment. The DoE and the other government offices and stakeholders are now hard at work to come up with the IRR of this important legislation.

Related to the implementation of the Evida Law, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) recently reminded the public that electric vehicle registration is a requirement and that it covers all electric-powered vehicles. Accordingly, even e-bikes now require LTO registration.

But one of the best parts of the Evida Law is the offer of several key tax incentives to businesses in the EV industry. These innovations in the law are expected to create more opportunities for the manufacturers of EVs and support the creation of the necessary infrastructure for EVs in the Philippines.

Businessmen and investors must really be encouraged to join the government's push towards sustainability and clean energy source development.

Indeed, the future is bright for clean energy and transportation because of EVs in the country.