The Senate will be taking part in the discussions on the auto-industry road map in a bid to ensure it does not conflict with broader government goals. This is contained in a proposed resolution directing the concerned Senate committees to look into the crafting of the auto road map.
“We will ask the Department of Trade and Industry [DTI] to present the current automotive road map, then see if we need to have further process to improve it,” Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said at the sidelines of the Fifth Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) held at the World Trade Center on Thursday.
The neophyte senator, currently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, said he wants to make sure the road map will not contradict government policies.
For instance, he said infrastructure development should complement the auto road map.
If the resolution is approved, this will be the first time that the issue on the auto-industry road map will be subject to a public hearing.
“Like yesterday [Wednesday] for the cabotage issue, there were some contradictions in our policies; there’s a policy to lower the cost of logistics, but there is also the mandate to collect fees and taxes. So we want to go into this process, with Campi [Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers in the Philippines Inc.] and other government agencies to find out if the support mechanism for this industry does go hand in hand with our policy to increase infrastructure in the future,” Aquino said.
Aquino clarified that the discussion is not focused on adding new incentives for car manufacturers, but just to align provisions of the road map to government goals.
Campi President Rommel Gutierrez said the car assemblers did not request for the resolution, but lauds the senator’s initiative.
“I think the senator sees the importance of a road map for the auto industry and he’s willing to align government policies to ensure that the road map is comprehensive,” Gutierrez said in a separate interview.
The auto industry has been awaiting the approval of the auto industry road map, on which substantial investment decisions and expansion plans are hinged.
Aquino is eyeing to file the resolution on Monday. Trade Undersecretary for Trade Policy and Industry Development Adrian S. Cristobal said the DTI will comply with the resolution should it be approved.
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Vice President for Marketing Services Froilan Dytianquin said during the Fifth PIMS that the firm cannot choose for now the new model that will be assembled locally at its newly purchased plant in Laguna as the choice depends on the road map.
The firm’s current plant in Cainta assembles the L300, Adventure and Lancer EX models. It plans to transfer all operations to the 21-hectare plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna, formerly owned by Ford Philippines.
Image credits: Alysa Salen