By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Board of Investments (BOI) is courting a Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer to produce in the country in anticipation of higher domestic demand in light of the government’s move to construct bicycle lanes in the country’s thoroughfares.
BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said they are pursuing Giant, one of the world’s leading bike manufacturers based in Taiwan, to locate in the country. Rodolfo, who is also trade and industry undersecretary, said they met with the Giant chairman last year.
“It continues to be a good lead, they are interested,” he said, adding discussions are ongoing.
In looking for bicycle manufacturers, Rodolfo noted of the bicycle lane bill in Congress. Bicycles became popular again following the difficulty in mobility during the Enhanced Community Quarantine as more Filipinos resorted to taking bikes to work and to do their errands.
But Rodolfo would like the proposed bike lane bills to have a manufacturing component.
There have been information bicycle manufacturers in the country in Laguna and Cavite. He also cited Shimano, a bicycle parts manufacturer. But the current local bike producers are exporting their products.
“If our domestic market for bikes will grow, then we can reposition them more towards the domestic market,” he added.
Senator Pia Cayetano has filed Senate Bill No. 1518, also known as the ‘Safe Pathways Act,’ proposes the creation of linked pop-up bicycle lanes and emergency pathways to form a “people-oriented and pedestrian-friendly” network that will connect people to essential destinations during the pandemic, while ensuring that physical distancing is maintained. Such a measure will lessen the number of people crowding in trains, public utility vehicles, and terminals. In the long run, it will also help decongest roads, reduce air pollution, and improve the health of citizens.
Related bills and projects include the ‘National Bicycle Act of 2019 and EDSA Greenways Project.
The former seeks to create policies, infrastructure, and facilities that will integrate bicycles into our transport options, while the latter seeks to give rise to elevated walkways in the metro. The EDSA Greenways has already been approved by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).