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DTI wants perks for makers of special purpose vehicles

MANILA, Philippines — With incentives lined up for assemblers of eco-friendly public utility vehicles (PUVs), the government is also considering perks to boost local production of special purpose vehicles (SPVs).

“Beyond the PUV requirements, we can also move into the local manufacture of SPVs that the Philippines is currently importing heavily, like ambulances, truck-mounted cranes, and mini-firetrucks,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez said the move is in line with the government’s aim at further pushing for the local automotive industry’s resurgence.

The Department of Trade and Industry has scrapped the search for a third participant in its Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program and instead decided to utilize the P9-billion portion of the scheme’s budget for a new program that will support the assembly of eco-friendly PUV.

The new program will support the local manufacturing of replacement vehicles for the Department of Transportation’s PUV modernization program which seeks to not only decongest the roads but provide safer, cleaner, healthier and fuel-efficient transport system for Filipino commuters.

“This is because the market volume requirement of over 200,000 replacement PUV units presents an opportunity to jumpstart the development of the country’s commercial vehicle sector,” Lopez said.

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“In the wake of this decision, the proposed eco-PUV program will feature some 15 prototypes developed by potential participants that adhere to Philippine National Standards,” he added.

The program’s details are still being discussed and finalized, but those who would receive incentives are vehicle body builders.

The government initially seeks to modernize 200,000 public utility jeepneys across the country as part of government efforts to provide a safer transport system for commuters while mitigating the effects of climate change.

Lopez said his agency, through the Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, is presently developing the framework and mechanics for the Domestic Economic Zones (DEZ) intended to trigger new investments in manufacturing for the domestic market.

He said the DEZ concept could serve as the appropriate platform for eco-PUV manufacturing, as well as other similar strategic domestic-oriented sectors such as roll-on, roll-off, and the appliance industries.

“With the CARS program firmly underneath the manufacturing resurgence program, we are confident that we can give our domestic automotive industry a new lease in life, while also sharing the benefits to related industries,” Lopez said.

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