DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said that the use of a bicycle “is not only good for the health of the cyclist but also for other people and the environment.”
“This pandemic has taught each and every one of us a lot of lessons in life, especially in the way we conduct our daily business. Taking care of our environment is also taking care of our health,” Cimatu said.
“This proposal for the use of bicycles should be supported as it has become an alternative mode of transportation that is efficient and emission-free not only here in our country but also elsewhere around the world,” he added.
Data from the DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) showed a significant decrease of 39% monthly average concentration of Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) from the Air Quality Monitoring Stations of EMB National Capital Region for the period March 2020 to April 2021. TSP refers to particles ranging in size from 0.1 micrometer to about 30 micrometers in diameter.
However, from March 2020 to April 2021, the monthly average concentration of PM (particulate matter) 10 increased by 43%. On the other hand, the monthly average concentration of PM 2.5 also increased by 5%. EMB attributes this to the motor vehicle emissions in Metro Manila, since there are still private and public transport vehicles on the roads.
PM 10 is 10 micrometers and smaller in diameter such as dust, pollen and mold. PM 2.5 is 2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter from soot, smoke, metals, chemicals, dust and other elements that can easily be breached and are usually associated with respiratory illnesses.
DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda pointed out that while Congress has yet to pass a law on the safety of cycling in the country, he hopes that LGUs would pass ordinances designating bicycle lanes in the localities to ensure cyclists safety.
“It’s high time that we enact a bicycle law to protect our commuters. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our people have now been traveling using their bicycles on their way to work, and it is only right to assure them of their safety while traveling,” he said.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1052 in November 2020 designating a “National Bicycle Day” to be observed every 4th Sunday of November to promote the environmental benefits of bicycles.
Under the proclamation, the DENR is tasked to enjoin other national and local government agencies, including LGUs and the private sector, to participate and support the implementation of the national bicycle proclamation.
Antiporda is also the Supervising Undersecretary for Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service wherein this office played a crucial role in lobbying for champion to institutionalize this activity to become a national movement.
Since battling COVID-19 for over a month, Antiporda said cycling has been one of his activities to boost his immune system. He also suggested to other people to try cycling as the air outdoors is less risky than being inside any enclosed space.
“Using this mode of transportation not only helps in improving the health and well-being of the public, but also ensures a sustainable, clean and healthy environment,” he noted.
Senate and House leaders have called for the use of bicycles and the safety of cyclists, the most recent of which was House Bill 8156 authored by Las Pinas Rep. Camille Villar which seeks to provide bicycle lanes in all main roads and highways.