THE American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (AmCham) is backing the government’s plans of giving more incentives to both manufacturers and consumers of electric vehicles (EV), noting that the country should take advantage of the law on electric vehicles.
AmCham Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe said the chamber earlier advocated for the passing of the EV law, but he noted that the chamber wanted “motorcycles and other areas” included.
The Electric Vehicle Development Act (Evida) or Republic Act No. 11697 aims to provide an “enabling” environment to develop electric vehicles in the country. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order (EO) No. 12, an issuance that makes EVs tariff-free last January 2023.
Under the motorcycles classification in the EO 12, however, only kick scooters, self-balancing cycles, pocket motorcycles and bicycles with auxiliary motors not exceeding 250 watts and with a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour have zero import duties, while electric motorcycles are still subject to a 30-percent tariff rate.
“Absolutely, we are advocating for the passing of the EV bill. We were thrilled when we got it. We wanted Motorcycles and other areas included, which wasn’t in the…hybrid we also wanted hybrid in it, which I think still should be in there,” Hinchliffe told reporters at the sidelines of the 12th Arangkada Philippines Forum last week.
The AmCham official noted that the Philippines should leverage its existing laws to “push the market” of EVs. Aside from taking advantage of the laws, the government should also focus on having the “right investment climate” and providing the necessary incentives, Hinchliffe said.
“It’s always a challenge for any kind of investment…foreign investment. You got to have the right investment climate, you got to have the right incentives. We gave them the incentive now then we got to give them the market. Nobody’s going into the market if they don’t have somebody buying the product. So the big thing is to push the market,” the AmCham official stressed.
Hinchliffe cited other nations like Sri Lanka, which he said have been “very successful” in developing their EV markets.
For the Philippines, meanwhile, the AmCham official said, “I’d love to see manufacturing of the E-vehicles here in the Philippines.”
As mandated under the Evida law, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Board of investments (BOI), “shall recommend an EV incentive strategy to the Fiscal Incentives Review Board [FIRB] for approval, as part of the manufacturing component of the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry [CREVI], similar to Executive Order No. 182, series of 2015, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy Program [CARS].”
The EV incentive strategy, RA 11697 noted, aims to narrow the cost gap between EVs and traditional motor vehicles and enable the shift of the local traditional motor vehicle industry to EVs, among others.
According to earlier local news reports, the government is “looking to incentivize the manufacture of 4 million EV units in the next 10 years.”
Of which, majority will be two wheelers and e-trikes along with e-PUVs (public utility vehicles) and e-bus.
DTI Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Group Rafaelita Aldaba said the agency would provide two types of support, which she said, will not only be directed on the supply side, but on the demand side as well.
With this, the local report noted “under the consumer subsidy program, the government is looking to provide consumers with direct financial rebates or discounts when they purchase an EV.”
In particular, Aldaba said the government is looking at providing a P10,000 subsidy for buyers of two-wheeler EVs, P20,000 for three-wheeled EVs and P500,000 for e-PUVs, the report added.
Asked if AmCham will support the government’s plans to subsidize EV buyers to fast track the development of the EV market in the Philippines, Hinchliffe said, “That kind of incentive is helpful. That kind of subsidy of anything we can do to get air polluting cars off the street or air polluting jeepneys off the streets is a plus and those subsidies will help.”