#MoveTogether Iloilo: Active mobility promotes climate justice and lessens road disparity

Iloilo City—Active and sustainable mobility is integral in addressing the gaps in the Philippine transport system and in ensuring a just low-carbon transition. This was highlighted during #MoveTogether, an advocacy and movement building workshop on sustainable urban mobility held in Iloilo City last October 25.

#MoveTogether was organized by The Climate Reality Philippines in partnership with the City Government of Iloilo, the Iloilo City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), and Iloilo Folding Bike Riders (iFOLD). It mobilized cycling and active mobility advocates from Luzon and Visayas to support the call for local and private sector leaders to prioritize the needs of the majority of Filipino households that do not own private cars.

Philippine transport and mobility issues


A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that in every four household-owning bicycles, only one owns a car.

In her presentation during the workshop, Chiara Veronica Señires, the Online Community Administrator of Pinay Bike Commuter Community, highlighted the current car-centric mobility system in the country’s metropolitan areas, which compromises the commuting experience of Filipinos, including bicycle commuters.

Arielle Celine Tabinga, National Coordinator of the Mobility Awards, agreed that safety remains a paramount concern for cyclists, especially since cities in the country lack secured and adequate bicycle infrastructure.

Participants also shared the inconvenience of public commuting in the country citing immense traffic, expensive fare costs, disconnected transport systems, and air pollution as among the most pressing transportation and mobility issues.

Participants developed sensory maps to demonstrate personal commuting experiences in their respective localities. Luzon advocates traversed the route from Muntinlupa City to Quezon City while Visayas advocates mapped their experience from Lambunao to Iloilo City.

“Despite these hazards and car-centric infrastructure, people still need to move around to go to places. And so, people continue to walk, use public transportation, and ride bicycles and e-scooters,” Señires said during her presentation. 

Cesar Carlito Baclagon, Regional Finance Campaigner of 350.org in Asia, agreed that more people resort to active mobility like cycling and walking as a cost-effective mode of transportation that makes commuters less vulnerable to volatile fossil fuel prices and offers an agile and efficient way to maneuver through traffic.

Evidence-based urban mobility planning


Mobility Awards throughout the years have made efforts to provide empirical data for urban mobility planning and investment programming by counting bicycle commuters on the road.

Tabinga presented the results of Bilang Siklista 2023 during the #MoveTogether session. This year’s bicycle count reported a total of 147,800 cyclists across 17 cities.

Advocates sought to expand the Bilang Siklista initiative in rural areas as they remarked that more cyclists are situated outside urban cities.

“The bicycle count project aims to provide more evidence to support the urgent need to invest in better bicycle infrastructure throughout the country as more and more Filipinos are relying on bicycles,” Tabinga explained.

She added that the bicycle count had significant contributions in guiding the planning and implementation of national bicycle programs of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). Moreover, the initiative encouraged further research to strengthen claims on inclusive mobility.

Co-benefits of active mobility

More than the social and economic benefits, active mobility also yields positive impacts on climate and the environment.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), transportation is responsible for 37% of global carbon emissions.

“Modernizing our transport system is more than just upgrading the type, engine, and fuel of vehicles. It’s about enhancing urban mobility conditions by providing safer, cleaner, cost-effective options to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions,” Baclagon said.

During one of the discussions with the participants, it was highlighted that active mobility, specifically cycling, has the potential to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions while improving air quality.
Promoting smart, inclusive, and active mobility


On the second day of #MoveTogether, participants were given the opportunity to experience cycling through the bicycle lanes along Iloilo City’s Esplanade and University Loop. The participants witnessed how these lanes were strategically established along universities, leisure parks, and other public areas to encourage bicycle commuting.

In partnership with CENRO and iFOLD, participants toured around Iloilo City through cycling.

Señires encouraged participants to demand more of these people-centric road infrastructures from their respective local governments. Tabinga also emphasized the importance of active citizenship in this movement.