Electric vehicle stakeholders still awaiting talks on tax breaks

Electric vehicle stakeholders still awaiting talks on tax breaks
The shift to electric vehicles is one of the solutions that the government is implementing to decarbonize the Philippines and help weaken the effects of climate change.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines – Key personalities from the electric vehicle (EV) industry have expressed concern as the waiting game continues for the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to hold talks on an executive order concerning tax breaks on certain EV types.

This developed despite the announcement by NEDA chief Arsenio Balisacan that the Tariff Commission (TC) would be asked to conduct public hearings to carefully consider the views of all stakeholders on Executive Order No. 12. The EO’s provisions is expected to be reviewed one year after its implementation on February 20, 2023.

The agency previously said that public hearings would be important to consider views and comments from stakeholders while taking into account current market conditions.

As of posting time, however, EV industry players reportedly remain clueless as to the conduct of public discussions.

Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) president Edmund Araga stated that NEDA has not yet contacted the organization for feedback or to extend an invitation to participate in a public hearing. They were initially invited in 2022, when EO12 was still being developed.

"Unfortunately, we were not invited to be part of the review," Araga said in a text message.

Micromobility advocate and Electric Kick Scooter Philippines co-founder Tim Vargas also said that NEDA has yet to reach out to his group. His camp has also filed a position paper to the agency regarding their proposed amendments for EO12 but has yet to receive a formal reply.

EO12 was enacted to complement the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) to create an industry for EVs in the country and help reduce carbon emissions, in compliance with the Philippines' commitment to the Paris Agreement. It modifies the tariff rates for EVs to help mainstream its use among Filipinos.

Under the EO, EVs such as kick scooters, pocket motorcycles, and self-balancing cycles are included in the tax breaks. Two-wheeled electric vehicles, on the other hand, are still subject to 30% import duty even while motorcycles are the nation's most preferred means of transportation, as evidenced by the Land Transportation Office's record of nearly 8 million motorcycles inside its organization, which drew the ire of different stakeholders.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda also filed House Bill No. 9573 to apply modifications to EO12, as the lawmaker noted that 60% of the nation's electric vehicles are classified as two-wheeled, which makes it unfair for them to be excluded from tax breaks.

The transportation sector in the country is reportedly responsible for emitting 31.54 million tons of carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change.

The Department of Trade and Industry plans to phase out internal engine combustion cars as part of a comprehensive plan to transition the nation to what environmentalists refer to as "green traffic," or a decarbonized road network.

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