ILAGAN CITY, Isabela – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in collaboration with the Ilagan City government and the Isabela State University (ISU) here will shortly undertake the fabrication and production of the Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT) and field them out as an alternative mode of mass transport” in Isabela and the Cagayan Valley region.
The DOST Region 2 office (DOST R-2), the Ilagan City government and the ISU recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to seal their partnership on the project, which will be made a major component of the Ilagan Livable City Program.
The HERT technology and prototype model was developed by the DOST Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) as an environmentally friendly and alternative mode of urban and rural mass transportation.
It was conceived and initiated to pursue technological developments and scientific breakthroughs in the country, and in support of the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goal “to make cities inclusive, sustainable, resilient and safe.”
During the MOU signing, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in his keynote address that “through HERT, DOST hopes to serve the best interest of the people in Ilagan City, particularly on their need for an environmental-friendly transportation mode.”
In his opening remarks, DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang, who was a former DOST R-2 Director, said the HERT “will not only address the transportation problems in the region but will also provide the local governments with additional sources of revenues in the long run.”
Mabborang explained that “the adoption of HERT innovation will also help create jobs for the metal industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) like those engaged in upholstery and and operating welding shops.” The partnership, he added, will also help enhance and utilize the skills of local metal fabricators, students and academe, among others, in the region.
Answering one of the questions raised, Ilagan City Mayor Jay L. Diaz, assured the HERT project would not affect the livelihood of tricycle and jeepney drivers and operators in the city. “HERT will have its own route, and tricycles and jeepneys can still operate,” he added.
A HERT unit consists of three interlinked coaches complete with an air-conditioning system for the passenger’s comfort and convenience. It can be run by diesel fuel or electric.
DOST-MIRDC Executive Director Robert O. Dizon said the HERT transport system in Isabela, will also serve as a model for other provinces and regions in the country. “Let us show them that local technology indeed works,” he stressed.
Dr. Ricmar Aquino, ISU president, for his part, ISU’s role in the project will focus on Research and Development (R&D) and its S&T activities. (DOST S&T PEN – Dave Masirag)