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Gov’t move to allow entry of used vehicles opposed

The automotive industry is in uproar over the government’s move to allow the resumption of importation of used motor vehicles within the Subic Special Economic Zone until the Supreme Court (SC) issues a final decision on the government’s legal fight against the entry of imposed second-hand automotives.


The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) got a copy on Monday of a memorandum from Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez and Senior Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Joe Nathan P. Tenefrancia dated Sept. 8, wherein they announced that Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita has ordered the Department of Finance, Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Customs, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the Land Transportation Office to comply with the Olongapo Regional Trial Court decision, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA), allowing the importation and entry of used motor vehicles within the Subic Special Economic Zone.


The importers would be allowed to resume the importation of used motor vehicles subject only to the payment of the required customs duties until final disposition of the matter by the SC.


CAMPI president Elizabeth Lee expressed alarm over the government’s move and its damaging impact on the struggling local automotive industry.


"Allowing the entry of used motor vehicles is against the government’s Motor Vehicle Development Program," Lee said.


Lee warned further that giving in to the used motor vehicle importers "would destroy everything that the President has been working for in assuring a viable local automotive manufacturing industry. "


CAMPI members were meeting feverishly yesterday on how to appeal to President Arroyo not to implement the memorandum order.


The Malacañang memo ordering the resumption of importation of used motor vehicles within Subic was based on the March 10, 2004 decision of the Olongapo City RTC wherein the Court ruled that Executive Order (EO) 156, which imposed a ban on the importation of second-hand motor vehicles, is "unconstitutional" and "illegal" and, thus, allowed the "unimpeded entry and importation of used motor vehicles to the Philippines subject only to the payment of the required customs duties."


The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) appealed the RTC decision to the CA but again lost when the Appellate Court affirmed on Feb. 14, 2005 the earlier RTC ruling.


The OSG filed a Motion for Reconsideration on March 16, 2005 against the CA but was denied a third time by the CA in a resolution dated June 28, 2005.


The legal matter has now been raised by the OSG to the SC but a decision is still being awaited.


Till then, the government is legally compelled to allow the entry of used motor vehicle.

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