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Gov’t plans to give perks to local vehicle body makers

Local makers of vehicle bodies may enjoy incentives under the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said Thursday.

At the press conference of the 1st Philippine Auto Parts Expo (PHILAPEX) in Pasay City, Lopez said the PUV Modernization Program promotes the use of locally manufactured body for vehicles that would replace 15-year old PUVs.

“This time, registered participants could be body builders, and they are free to use different platforms,” he said, noting that car companies supplying engines for PUV Modernization Program participants will no longer receive incentives from the government.

“It’s already their business to sell their platform. They don’t need incentives for that since platform is generic. They will not produce something new, so they don’t need the incentives,” Lopez added.

The trade chief noted that the government is still finalizing the rules on how it would provide perks for companies that would participate in the PUV Modernization Program.

But Lopez said the principle of the incentive program for the PUV modernization would be akin to the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.

He added the government aims to finalize the rules for providing incentives under the PUV modernization within the year to implement the program by 2018.

Earlier, the Board of Investments announced that the allocated incentive of USD 200,000 for the third slot of CARS Program would be shifted to the PUV modernization program.

Moreover, the PHILAPEX features 16 prototypes from different car makers for the PUV modernization.

According to Philippine Parts Maker Association (PPMA) President Ferdinand Raquelsantos around 150 eco-PUVs are being eyed to roll out within the year, adding 350 more next year, rolling out 500 prototypes eco-PUV before the implementation in 2018.

Kris Crismundo / PNA