September 21, 2017, 8:16 pm
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Auto sector to benefit from tax reform

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) yesterday said rather he proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) will benefit, rather than hurt, the local automotive industry given the projected high demand for alternative public utility vehicles under the jeep modernization program.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of Finance (DOF) quoted DOTR assistant secretary Mark Richmund de Leon as saying the vehicle and car parts  manufacturers would benefit from a planned  incentives program for the local car industry that would help modernize 200,000 to 300,000 public utility jeepneys (PUJs) nationwide.

De Leon said  his department is in talks with the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc.(CAMPI) and the Board of Investments on the planned incentives program.

“The DOTr fully supports the proposed excise tax reform package for the automotive industry. And again, we laud the effort and the noble intentions of the bill to propose the earmarking of the collections of the excise tax to support our “Build, Build,Build” Program of the DOTr, including earmarking certain portions of the collections to our public transport reform program, again to address the concerns of our two stakeholders: the car manufacturers and even the car users,” De Leon said at a recent hearing of the Senate ways and means committee.

The “Build, Build, Build Program pertains to the Duterte administration’s P8.4-trillion infrastructure buildup over the next five years. The program aims to strengthen the country’s infrastructure backbone through the construction of new road networks, airports, seaports, and mass transport systems nationwide and the deployment of rapid bus transit systems in Metro Manila, among other initiatives.

“For the car manufacturers, we’re telling the group that there’s a demand for public transportation vehicles. So we’re saying that we are replacing the public transport fleet: 200,000 to 300,000 jeepneys will be modernized, the buses will be upgraded to low-floor buses, similar to what they have in Singapore, in Korea, and other progressive cities. There’s a huge demand for new vehicles, which the industry -- the CAMPI, the parts manufacturers -- will also benefit from,” De Leon said.

De Leon said the DOTr’s goal to reform the public transport system aims to help decongest traffic in Metro Manila’s main thoroughfares by encouraging car users to take public transport.

“In fact, in Alabang, the route from Alabang Town Center to Makati, we’ve done numerous surveys and they show that, in fact, 40 percent of the users there are previously car users, De Leon said, referring to the Point-to-Point bus system running on that route.
“In order for people to really patronize public transportation, we just need to really reform the routes and even the public transport vehicles for it to be more attractive to this car-riding public,” he added. 

The DOF has assured senators that subcompact sedans such as the Mitsubishi Mirage and compact multipurpose vehicles such as the Toyota Innova models will remain affordable to middle-class families despite the proposed automobile excise tax increases under the tax reform bill because they are bound to get significant personal income tax rate (PIT) cuts that will more than offset the slight price markups on these cars.

DOF Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the reforms in the excise tax system for automobiles under the TRAIN, will, however, impact luxury vehicles such as the Land Cruiser, given that the objective of tax reform is to make the system more progressive by imposing stiffer consumption taxes on the wealthy, or those who can well afford to pay these high rates.
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