by OPI

MSU-IIT’s vehicle-free campus every first Wednesday of the month program debuted to great acclaim on February 5 with students, alumni, and the online community praising the Institute for implementing the environmental initiative.

“I love this action of my Alma Mater,” writes Ms Milla de Villa on the comments section of MSU-IIT’s Facebook Page post on the first day implementation of the vehicle-free program.

Nakak[a] proud talaga ang Alma Mater ko oi…” writes another Facebook commenter, Bongbong Umpa Busran. 

Alumna Rosalie Ursal Daal says that she salutes MSU-IIT “for taking action” and for working to have a “hazard-free environment.”

Other netizens express their desire to see the program implemented on a more frequent basis.

“Why not make this rule for good? Why only every Wednesday?” asks Jes Christian Salva.

Dydee Ala-an tells MSU-IIT to “do this everyday”.

The post regarding the implementation of the vehicle-free campus policy on MSU-IIT’s Facebook Page gets nearly 2,000 likes and is shared 758 times in less than 24 hours. 

The positive response to the program is not confined to the online community only. Institute constituents also praise the initiative.

Lady guard Marlyn Rubio who is posted at the entrance gate happily reports encountering many new faces as Institute employees whom she says she would never see face-to-face are forced to enter the campus on foot.

Salamat sa no-vehicle day kay na-meet na taka… nakita na ka namo [Thanks to the no-vehicle day, I… we, finally get to meet you],” Rubio recalls telling those particular employees, “mo-smile sab sila [They would then smile.]”     

The first day implementation on February 5 of the no-vehicle policy reveals a quiet campus and empty parking lots, with roads devoid of cars except for the occasional person riding a bicycle or electric scooter. 

The first day of implementation, however, is not without some hiccups. There are complaints of several vehicles spotted parked inside the campus.

Campus authorities explain that those vehicles were already inside the campus prior to the start of the implementation of the vehicle-free program on Wednesday.

Mohammad Zhamrul Macarambon, head of the Security and Investigation Division, clarifies that by the first Wednesday of March, all vehicles entering the campus before the start of implementation shall only do so to unload passengers at the designated drop-off zones. 

“Afterwards, they will be asked to exit. Absolutely no one will be allowed to park inside during no-vehicle day,” Macarambon says. “Even official MSU-IIT vehicles are not allowed to park inside.” 

The campus ban on vehicles using fossil fuels starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. every first Wednesday of the month.

On a normal day, around 200 motorcycles and 400 four-wheeled vehicles enter MSU-IIT. During the first implementation of the vehicle-free policy, only four vehicles carrying elderly persons or those with disabilities are allowed entry into the campus, Macarambon’s office reports.

MSU-IIT’s vehicle-free campus policy aims to draw attention to pollution and the effects it is having on the environment. It also makes people seriously consider using environmentally-friendly alternatives to regular transportation as a way of combating pollution.

The vehicle-free day program shall be enforced every first Wednesday of the month, and sees the Institute closing its gates to motor vehicles using fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel.

Students, faculty and staff members, and guests are encouraged to walk or use human-powered vehicles (bicycles, etc.) or solar/electric-powered vehicles (e-scooters, e-trikes, e-jeepneys, etc.) in the campus during vehicle-free day.

— With reports from and photos by Jan Christian Pagarigan, OPI