Automotive workers challenged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to implement a long-term manufacturing plan for the industry , including the grant of additional incentives to players, and hit the assemblers’ group apparecnt misplaced loyalty.
In a statement, the Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA) and the labor center to which it belongs, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) said the imposition by the DTI of the provisional safeguard duties on passenger cars and light commercial vehicles imported as completely-built up should only be the start of a program that would move the industry forward.
PMA and SENTRO said the DTI should fully implement the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) and grant new incentives for automotive companies which have been manufacturing in the Philippines for years.
But the groups expressed surprise over the reaction of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) which claimed the provisional safeguard measures is yet another blow to the automotive industry when the duties are precisely there to protect its ranks.
“It is therefore difficult to understand the position of CAMPI and puts (into question) the organization’s loyalty to the industry and workers it represents,” the groups said.
The workers’ groups also countered Campi’s claim of risk in the short- and medium-term disruption in regional production and supply, saying the safeguard was designed to stop the ongoing disruption in the local production and supply created by the surge in imported cars
“It would seem Campi is more worried about the loss of business of foreign corporations operating outside of the country, and not Philippine-based companies. Why is CAMPI not expressing any concern with the disruption in the Philippine production and supply brought about by the surge in imports? Why is CAMPI not worried about the disruption in the lives of workers and their families because of the loss of employment? Why is it not alarmed that countless formal and informal suppliers of goods to the local auto industry would lose their business, thus affecting adversely many workers and their families?
And why is CAMPI more concerned that foreign manufacturers of vehicles and autoparts will be affected if the Philippines protects its own young auto industry?,” the groups asked.
The workers also opposed claims by Campi of possible exposure to retaliation by affected countries, saying the DTI is simply enforcing Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act which is consistent with the country’s commitment to the World Trade Organization. (I.Isip)