Following the still growing issues in terms of climate change in the country and even the world, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay on Friday, August 5, sounded the alarm and declared a state of climate emergency in the city as she called for a whole-of-society approach in responding to the crisis.
“As temperatures and sea levels continue to rise, low-lying coastal areas in cities like Makati have become more vulnerable to strong typhoons that bring floods and landslides. This will result not only in the disruption of public services but also the displacement of families and even entire communities,” Binay said during a webinar organized by Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).
According to the data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), there has been a 0.75 degrees Celsius increase in the country’s annual temperature over the past 70 years and by 2050, the temperature increase is expected to reach as high as 1.8 degrees Celsius.
Binay then laid out her administration’s programs and initiatives aiming to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the city which includes the procurement of electric vehicles (e-vehicles) to be used by the city government, installation of solar panels in public schools and government offices to minimize energy consumption, and to ensure continuity of services during calamities.
“We call upon everyone to come together and act now. We must ensure aggressive application of the whole-of-society approach in combating climate change. We heard the data. We understood the science, and we are feeling its impact. Now is a crucial time to act, and we need to act fast. We need thinkers, doers, and movers,” Binay said. “The time for action is now. As the new breed of Makatizens and global citizens, it is our responsibility to take care of our city and ensure that it remains a livable place for future generations. We must promote sustainability and climate consciousness in all our actions. We must be the change we want to see in our city and the world,” she added.
According to the city government, Makati has been investing in state-of-the-art disaster equipment and distributing emergency go bags and hard hats to residents, public school students, and City Hall workers to promote disaster preparedness since 2017.
It also strictly implements the Solid Waste Management Code, Makati Green Building Code, plastic ban among households and business establishments, ban on cigarette smoking, Anti-Smoke Belching Ordinance, and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Ordinance.
On August 5, Binay held a meeting with officials of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as it outlines its programs and initiatives in making Makati a smart and green city such as the integration of electric vehicles (e-vehicles), healthy foods for students, disaster reduction technology, and hydroponics, among others.
Hydroponics is defined as a method of growing plants without soil. It uses less water than traditional soil-based systems and allows for faster growth and higher yields than traditional soil-based growing systems.
On August 3, Binay announced that electric buses (E-buses) will soon be a part of the regular public transportation sector in the city following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the city government and an international government organization on the establishment of a smart public transport system in the city.
Binay led the signing ceremony together with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) officials which include KOICA Country Director Kim Eunsub, KOICA Deputy Country Director Yoo Jiyoung, and KOICA Program Manager Francis Afable.
“Apart from the Makati Subway, this new public transport system is in line with our efforts to transform Makati into a smart city. We need to upgrade our systems because smart transportation is more convenient, safe, and cost-effective for both the city and commuters than traditional frameworks,” Binay said.
She added that the smart public transport system will provide commuters with an affordable means of transportation, help mitigate the impacts of climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions since the eco-friendly buses are powered by electricity.
The $13-million partnership includes the development of a public transportation master plan, establishment of a public transport information and communications technology (ICT) system, pilot operation of electric vehicle (EV) bus service, establishment of an EV bus depot, and capacity building of officials and personnel.
The city government will provide the lands for the construction of the EV bus depot and parking area, oversee the implementation of the project, and secure a sufficient amount from its budget to cover the expenses required for the operation of the project, including the cost of proper storage, utilities for operation, and maintenance of ICT system and EV buses.
The mayor said that the construction of the EV bus depot, control center, ICT system, and other facilities will start during the first quarter of 2023 and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2025.