Gov’t sets drive to clean Metro of soot



The government plans to modify the diesel engines of jeepneys and other public utility vehicles (PUVs) plying Metro Manila streets in a bid to reduce soot or “black carbon” emissions.

MANILA, Philippines—The government plans to modify the diesel engines of jeepneys and other public utility vehicles (PUVs) plying Metro Manila streets in a bid to reduce soot or “black carbon” emissions.

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) said on Wednesday it planned to introduce a P26-billion modification program to be sourced from international private sector for some 500,000 PUV diesel engines over a five-year period.

“Diesel-driven jeepneys, buses and trucks are responsible for 70 percent of black soot emissions in our urban centers,” CCC Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez said in a statement from Doha, Qatar, where he led the Philippine delegation in climate change talks.

The plan is to retrofit the PUVs using Australian technology that will reduce soot emissions by up to 80 percent, Alvarez said in a long-distance phone interview.

Alvarez, a former senator and environment secretary, cited an Asian Development Bank study estimating that some 500,000 PUVs, mostly jeepneys, produce 22,000 metric tons of soot per year.

Air pollution costs the Philippine economy $1.5 billion (roughly P60 billion) annually, in large part due to diesel emissions, according to the Philippine Environment Monitor.

“The country spends over $400 million in direct costs annually—some 0.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product—on health expenses caused by pollution,” Alvarez said.

A study by the World Bank estimated that some 5,000 premature deaths annually, or 12 percent of all deaths in Metro Manila—the highest of any city in the Philippines—were due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases caused by  exposure to the pollution in the city, Alvarez said.

Soot emitted by jeepneys is composed of “extremely fine airborne particles believed to be among the largest man-made contributors to global warming because they absorb solar radiation and heat the atmosphere,” he said.

But soot has not been recognized as a greenhouse gas, he noted.

The Philippines, along with a number of allied countries, is making a push to include black carbon on the list of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the Doha meetings, Alvarez said.

“By doing so, governments can attack black carbon and immediately address climate change by as much as 50 percent,” he said.

A recent scientific study found that black carbon “is now emerging as the second most important, but previously overlooked, factor in global warming,” Alvarez said.

He said studies showed that reducing soot emissions from diesel engines could slow the melting of glaciers in the Arctic faster and more economically than any other quick fix.

“If governments radically cut levels of black carbon and methane through technologies that are now available, then we could cut the rate of global warming by 50 percent,” he said.

Alvarez said this would increase the chances of keeping the temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius, slowing the advance of climate change by several decades.

In a related development, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has sought public support in bringing down the air pollution levels in Metro Manila to acceptable standards.

Metro Manila’s air, he said, has actually become cleaner, registering declines in both the amount of total suspended particulates (TSP) and the level of particulate matter 10 microns in diameter or smaller (PM10) in the urban center.

As of the third quarter, the TSP level in the National Capital Region was recorded at 106ug/Ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter), or 16ug/Ncm short of the acceptable level of 90ug/Ncm set by the World Health Organization.

Paje noted that when the Aquino administration came in June 2010, the TSP level in Metro Manila was at 166ug/Ncm. The current PM10 level of 77ug/Ncm in Metro Manila is also approaching the annual guideline threshold of 60ug/Ncm, he said.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • ghe

     26B can be used to fund research on alternative forms of energy or fuel. The govt should think of long term solution as well.

    • Guest

       “The govt should think of long term solution as well.”

      That is the perennial problem with the PH gov and PH society in general. Long term thinking seems not to be strength (yet) of PH. We will see when this will change. This country has lots of unused and wasted potentials. We cannot afford to waste another generation, meaning 30 more years, to screw it up like the last 30 to 40 years.

  • Luthmar

    Remove all very old vehicles plying MM roads.  They only do not pollute the air.  They are big hazards on the roads.  Very dangerous for the people.

  • oh_noh

    PHP 26,000,000,000 / 500,000 vehicles = PHP 52,000 / vehicle

    sa palagay ko, kahit anong modify mo ng mga lumang jeepneys / puv’s (worth 52,000 ea. ?), ganun pa rin ang mangyayare. sayang lang ang 26B na yan at mapupunta lang sa mga MAGIC / GHOST vehicles = buwayang mga opisyales o politiko !!!

    tsaka, hindi naman lahat ng 500,000 na mga sasakyang yan e kelangan ng modification!

    dapat, magtrabaho ng tama ang mga kinauukulan, i-buyout na lang ang mga sobrang lumang mga jeep / puv sa tamang assessment, at option para sa asistance / guarantee ng gobyerno para makakuha ng mga bagong sasakyang pampasada!

    siguruhin din na wala nang mga bagong marerehistrong mga pampublikong sasakyan na hindi a-abot sa pamantayan ang makina (o ang buong sasakyan)!!!

    may pera naman palang ilalalaa, ilaan na ng tama!!!!

    tapos, pag palpak pa rin, lahat ng sangkot na opisyales e i-GAS CHAMBER sa pamamagitan ng isok ng 500,000 na jeeps / puv’s :D

  • Platypus09

    It is about time….!!

    Spending MONEY to IMPROVE our citizens’ health and our environment is WORTH it.

    Plus investors, previous visitors and would-be-tourists would like to COME here and INVEST here in Manila and in provinces if we have CLEANER PHILIPPINES…!!

    If we have the money, WHY NOT?

    I endorse this initiative.

    Please SPEND the money wisely, folks..

  • Platypus09

    I also would like to suggest to the construction companies, architects, engineers, planners, administrators to please use SOOT-RESISTANT PAINTS, if there are any, in painting and re-painting our buildings and new buildings.

    LOW-QUALITY paints used in our buildings would NOT stick around or last for five years at least.

    After several years, the colors of the paints used have already been BLACKENED which would look these buildings and newly-painted ones in our Metro areas DIRTY, or in just a matter of several months.

    • yumahuman

      We don’t have to wait months to see something turns black. My nostrils were covered with black soot at the end of the day when I used to live in Metro Manila.

  • $14334231

    i think the diesel fuel is the real culprit, not the engines…refineries or imported fuels must conform with the correct emissionl….check the vehicles of other countries, they don’t emit smokes on their exhaust pipes like ours……or if it does, it’s not as bad as ours here…is this another way of corruption???….P26B could be used to hire thousands of unemployed filipinos instead……

    • Platypus09

      If we could get rid of DIESEL FUEL use, that would much better.

      Plus getting rid of the jeepneys is much better too soon, but I doubt that.

      There are cars and trucks in the US I know that use diesel fuels don’t emit too much soot and pollution.

      It is a matter of using technology properly I guess.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Sorry, you are wrong, diesel are the problem for ultra small particles.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    Stop the use of diesel engine in jeepney’s production line, make a harsher law to impose that and then work on those jeepneys, cars, cabs, trucks on the road to modify their engine into using LPG in 2-3 years or get it off the road once and for all!

  • ern

    Why do you need to spend that much? Just gradually remove diesel from the market in metro manila…that’s all. 5 years to totally remove it would be alright. And for the succeeding 5 years, phase it out in the entire country.  Diesel PUV’s would be extinct by then. Stop the manufacture and importation of diesel vehicles. 

  • SojuSaki

    It’s high time that the government start phasing out those pollution causing PUVs and start investing on modern mass transport systems like BRTs and AGTs. 

    Manila’s jeepney are not only ugly and inefficient but are also leading contributor to air pollution in the metropolis. Don’t be surprised if many Pinoy commuters are dumb and stupid as they are forced to breath lead fortified fumes everyday.

    • anu12345

       “Don’t be surprised if many Pinoy commuters are dumb and stupid as they are forced to breath lead fortified fumes everyday.”

      You are smart, so tell those commuters what to do so that they will not be dumb and stupid.

      • band1do


      • SojuSaki

        You don’t get it dummy, my point is, your government should make investment on efficient and clean mass transport technology a priority. Else most of you jeepney commuters would find industrial grade mask or worst a portable rebreather machine an essential part of your daily fashion in the next few years.

        So while your neurons still breath some minute traces of intelligence, use it wisely.

      • anu12345

         I can’t tell you to use your intelligence because you don’t have any. Portable rebreather, huh? Dumber.

      • SojuSaki

        And for you the dumbest, don’t stop your daily dose of lead fortified fumes. 

  • anu12345

    I didn’t see the tricycles (motorized) being mentioned

  • Poging Piggy

    Diesel is not the problem here, it’s how inefficient the Jeepney’s engines are. . . if they plan on spending that much per vehicle, better have an engine swap rather than continue using them prehistoric machinations for engines.

  • Jayson Del Rosario Vedad

    i dream of a future that transportation in Manila will be a lot easier, as easy as going around New York City with the government taking charge of the whole transport system. 

    • AlexanderAmproz

      The best for transportations systems are HK and Singapore,

      easy to go next door to have a look and visit by the same occasion Airport management….

    • band1do

      NYC??? The transportation system there???  

      Try london or a much more efficient transport system can be found in Switzerland.  Or as Alex Aamproz has mentioned, HK or Singapore since those two countries are closer to the Philippines.

  • Edward Solilap

    Implement the Clean Air Act signed by PGMA every administration talk about eliminating pollution but it all ended like talking in the wind. Look at the stupid emmission test required by government before you register your car in LTO inutil system but no body care now they need 26 billion of taxpayers’ money to clean their sooted memory.

    • buttones

      It is true, but this is PH so we have to give a bit of leeway here, I can take my truck for testing, my tires are bald, my lights don’t work, I have a hole in the drivers floor, my only brakes are an anchor I throw out of the passenger window, but if my emissions are ok? No problem- back on the road again….

  • AlexanderAmproz

    Small particles emitted by diesel engine are known to be highly cancerous,

    on the way to be ban in Paris, French are fan of diesel engines, but not for long. 

  • speedstream2

    Is it a reflex action for bureaucrats to throw money at a problem in the hope that a solution will be found? We don’t need to spend P26 billion of taxpayers’ money to reduce soot in Metro Manila. We just need P26B worth of political will, like an honest to goodness and consistent implementation of the anti-smoke belching regulation. Also, isn’t there a law mandating the phase-out of two-stroke motorcycles being used for public transport? Btw, how about motorcycles that aggravate noise pollution, roaring to the delight of uncaring owners? While we’re at it, how about the practice of overloading? The pertinent regulation might as well be abolished because the concerned authorities don’t give a hoot about it.

  • Jeanne Thompson

    In my opinion, it is better to replace PUVs using fossil fuels (diesel and gasoline) with electric vehicles. The government can invite local or foreign investors to put up a manufacturing plant for these types of vehicle in the country. The Philippine government will then buy vehicles from them using that 26 billion pesos. The government then distributes the vehicles to PUV operators and they pay the government monthly for a certain period of time. Parang boundary-hulog ang style.

    In this way, the new money collected can then again be used to buy new units of electric vehicles then give to PUV operators for them to pay. The cycle goes on until all PUVs using fossil fuels are replaced.

    The government should focus itself finding ways to use the taxpayer’s money that will result with the most benefits as possible.

    • buttones

      For the most part, electricity is actually produced by fossil fuels. I cannot see the gain, and, given the appalling cost and unreliable supply how can a guy charge his batteries? Electricity is not made out of thin air..
      No mention of this technology of a cleaner emission has ever been reported, there are no details about it, I think it’s just blather really…… I’m sorry to say but energy over the next 20 years is going to come from fossil fuels- that’s a fact…Nuclear is not a viable option in PH due to politics, wind farms are only 30 % efficient, and thermal is localized, as Hydro is as well. And I might remind you PH is hell bent on recovering fossil fuels from our part of the South China Sea as well. LPG is not exactly a ‘clean fuel’ , and neither is ‘Natural gas’- these are all hydrocarbon based, the only really clean fuel is actually hydrogen, a bit lethal, but in burning this for energy the only by product is actually water….

      • Jeanne Thompson

        If the diesel consumption of all PUVs is used to create electricity, there will be more power to supply these vehicles, households and industry. Yes there is still carbon emissions but it is minimized significantly. And if the technology to produce electricity from hydrogen is commercially available then so much the better.

      • buttones

        Well I do see your point, and it is well taken, but it never really works like that does it? We [or more particularly ‘they’] produce one of the most expensive electricity tariffs on earth. I don’t really know why that is, but it is a fact and cost has an awful lot to do with this. My interest in all of this was piqued a while ago reading about a school project in Africa where some girls had converted a generator to provide six hours of electricity from one liter of urine- it is actually basic science, the product they created was hydrogen, which is not surprising given the fact we all expel H2o . And then, I begin to wonder- if all it needs is for me to drive my truck is for me to pee into the tank, a billion people are basically out of a job. This cannot be allowed to happen, in the same way the efficiency of petrol engines has hardly changed in fifty years. But in a way it has, a 1600cc FI racing car can develop hundreds of bhp, from a few liters of gasoline. We have all the technology, but to use it destroys industries and jobs that have been created over time, it simply will not happen….

      • Jeanne Thompson

        Everything has the right time. But surely there will be a moment when hydrogen will be the next talk of the town. Right now, we have to make do with what the industry offers.

  • blainz

    Another way to reduce soot emissions is for new jeepneys and buses to use LPG, the same as some taxis now, then slowly phase out the aging diesels. More stringent safety measures are required, but these are all economically feasible and present no engineering challenge. Could be a lot cheaper too.

    Slightly off-topic: Does anyone know when the LRT-1 station in Muñoz and MRT station in North Edsa will get a working connection?  I wonder what has taken unifying the routes for so long. Such inconvenience.

    • buttones

      Vehicles run on LPG are about 14% less in emissions than petroleum, but they are actual less efficient The gain? Well I really don’t know, maybe an expert in all of this might tell me…

  • Hey_Dudes

    Php26 billion is a considerable amount of money to invest in low cost housing for the poor to keep them away from occupying creeks, bridges and other places not fit for humans.  Unfortunately, we are not a race that values clean free environment and so rather than spend money on worthwhile projects, money is used to clean up our dirt!  What a pity.

    • buttones

      Maybe true- but this ‘low cost housing’ will just turn into vertical or horizontal slums. Look at the ‘projects’ in NYC, look at the post war high rises of the UK and Paris, they all became slums. Many are gone now, and thank God for that, we should build homes that will last, it is false economy to build ‘low cost’ – this low cost is crap, it’s like me buying Chinese shoes, they will not last. It’s the same thing. We should build for a hundred years, not a presidential term that simply lasts for six….

  • damuhoka

    Namp!!a!! So much money for a WWII-esk vehicle design. Sobra na ytang pgbibigay yan sa mga jeepneys. I ride the jeepneys. But I don’t think its right to put soooo much accomodation for them. 

    Madaming hindi sumusunod sa batas at common courtesy sa kalye. Parang mga FX drivers.
    Palibhasa madami di naman tlaga nkapagaral ng tamang pagddrive. Na iniimpose strictly sa private, professional drivers. Nasan na yung na feature sa TV na bulag na jeep driver sa SanJuan o Mandaluyong.
    Ni walang insurance! pag nkasagasa, nakabungo, at nasaktan ang pasahero, may binabayad ba sila sa problema nung taong nadisgrasya nila?
    Tapos Kapag di nasunod gusto nila, magrrally. Hawak sa B*yag mga trapo na nagbebeybi sa kanila.

    Ngayon dahil sa corruption at inefficiency ng LTO sa pagregulate ng tamang smoke belching procedure.  Bibigyan pa sila ng LIBRENG pagppaayos ng jeep nila?

    Bakit yung ibang ngttrabaho na security guard, sales lady, o clerk hindi makatangap ng ganyang benepisyo! from the words of Mar Roxas before.. MGA P#TAN$ ITO!

    Palibhasa eleksyon na naman!

    Alam ko na yan ay simbolo ng pagiging pilipino. Pero isa lng yan, hindi yan mismo! pde natin tanggalin yan sa buong Kamaynilaan. At sa probinsya lng at tourist spot, kung gusto din lng naman ipromote ng gobyerno yan.

  • Klepto

    Jeepneys, tricycle, pedicabs. These are the symbol of Filipino’s meager minds, lack of class, kulelat attitude, and band-aid solution to all pressing problems.

  • tower_of_power

    P26B … to clean Manila of soot? What kind of leaders do we have? ALL WE NEED IS FOR ALL THE LAWS IMPLEMENTED …

     For LTO to STRICTLY ENFORCE INSPECTION OF VEHICLES … kung walang mga mobile fogging machines like buses and jeepneys … walang masyado usok and soot!!!

    For our POLICE TO apprehend the smoke belchers!!!

    For DENR to do what they are supposed to do … hindi pangungurakot!!!

    Walang gagastusin di ba? Saan pupunta ang P26B na yan?

    • band1do

      Good point.  Laws must be implemented.  

  • band1do

    This is great news.  The air is so polluted in Manila that at 4pm, one cant see the skyline from a beer house in Antipolo.  Great work but I hope it can be done quicker than the said 5 years.  :D

  • Pio Gante

    kasama ba sa proposed budget ang paglinis ng ilong at pag-tanggal ng maitim na kulangot ng mga taga- metro manila?

  • troyg318

    will this be a long term solution or just patch work like the asphalt pot holes in the road of metro manila?just saying.

    • dodong1

      the Philippine government is notorious on BAND AID FIXES…

  • Mike Henry French

    they must return the TRANVIA as it was during Pre-War. In Europe, their electric trams are so great

  • Joboni 96

    ‘retrofit the PUVs using Australian technology’

    mali na naman

    with this kind of money
    the government can build up again
    the local jeepney industry
    for safer and more economical travel

    1. reduce the weight of jeepneys
    2. electric hybrid jeepneys with regenerative braking
    3. electronic monitoring system for scheduling

    kayang kaya nyan ng mga university engineers natin
    na siyang dapat makinabang
    kaysa u.s. sidekick ossies

  • dodong1

    nakatatawa dito, meron kunong mga emission inspections pa..pero nakapagtataka lahat ng mga sasakyan miski kasing kapal na ng ulap ang itim ng inilalabas sa tambutso pasado parin.bakit hindi nila gayahin ang Japan na ten years or older ang mga sasakyan they get rid of them and send it to the junk yard…

  • disqusted0fu

    lets all watch this not to happen. in case it does, it will probably be half-baked.

    its ironic that the money that the government will use for this project to supposedly help clean our environment is partial of the same money that makes our government dirty!

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos