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House to prioritize electric vehicle bill

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will prioritize the passage of a bill granting incentives for the manufacture, importation and use of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday.

Belmonte issued the statement at the launching of an electric vehicle, which coincided with a forum on alternative fuels at the House organized by private groups and some lawmakers.

The authors of various bills that seek to provide incentives for the manufacture, assembly, conversion, importation and purchase of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles attended the forum.

They were Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Buhay party-list Rep. Irwin Tieng and Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar.

Forum participants included representatives from the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Build Your Dreams (BYD), one of the leading providers of green energy technologies utilized in IT, automotive and energy industries.

Belmonte cited in particular Rodriguez’s House Bill 387 as “a game changing piece of legislation.”

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“If this bill is passed – and it is not a question of if, but when – it will open the doors to an exciting and vastly improved future for country,” he said.

He said electric, hybrid and alternative fuel automotive engines will “slowly wean us from our dependence on oil, it can also improve traffic situation in our cities, the efficiency of public transportation and pave the way for a stable local automotive system.”

“There is a need to look into and encourage alternative sources of energy and other technology that would lessen our dependence on oil. And one of these technologies available is the hybrid technology in motor vehicles,” Rodriguez said.

By providing incentives to hybrid car manufacturers, importers and spare parts dealers, the costs of importing, manufacturing and/or owning hybrid cars is reduced, thereby allowing a greater number of Filipinos to own or utilize vehicles that use alternative and environmental-friendly sources of energy, Binay said.

“Driving a car is the most air polluting act an average citizen commits. However, the adverse effect of air pollution is dramatically alarming, especially to our environment. Hence, the use of alternatively fueled vehicles should be encouraged mainly because of the lower amounts of pollution that they emit,” Tieng said.

Villar, chairman of the House committee on trade and industry, said electric, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles are 90 percent less pollutant compared to conventional cars.

Depending on the version, the bills grant exemptions to excise taxes and duties, as well as value-added tax, for a certain period from effectivity of the law, the manufacture or assembly of completely knocked-down (CKD) parts, raw materials and spare parts of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles, including the conversion of vehicles into electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles.

Villar’s version also grants incentives to those who purchase such vehicles, including exemption from the number coding scheme, reduced parking rate, lower annual registration fee and other incentives to be determined by the appropriate government agency.

Meralco said it has initiatives for providing end-to-end energy solutions such as its plan to build a charging station for e-vehicles, which it said is a first step toward creating sustainable cities that will be cleaner and greener.

“Green technology, particularly electric vehicles, is the way of the future. And BYD will continue to pursue the green dream. We look forward to the day when e-vehicles can occupy a portion of the nation’s highways and roadways and a future when green car space is the norm rather than the exception,” according to Mark Tieng, managing director of Star Corp. which is the exclusive distributor of BYD in the country.

More perks

Sen. Bam Aquino, meanwhile, has filed a measure seeking tax exemption for start-up businesses within two years of operations.

Aquino said Senate Bill 2217, also known as the Start-Up Business Bill, would provide such enterprises the proper time to stand on their own as they try to create a niche in the market.

“The intervention provides the opportunity for these start-ups to get organized, establish their business operations and market base,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship.

The measure proposes tax exemption for two years for enterprises that are not affiliates or subsidiaries of existing companies.

Furthermore, start-ups that are sole proprietorships must not have any other existing registered companies.

“They should have at least five-percent share with no nominal stockholders and in case of a corporation, a venture capitalist should only have up to 15 percent of total outstanding shares,” Aquino said in a statement. – With Christina Mendez

 

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