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Philippine Senate approves bill on green vehicles

Philippine Senate approves bill on green vehicles
Driver on a motorcycle rickshaw called “tricycle” and a jeepney can be seen in the background

The Philippines is making the shift to more sustainable transportation with the Senate’s approval on third and final reading of a bill that seeks to provide incentives to manufacturers and importers of alternative fuel vehicles.

The enactment of Senate Bill No. 2856 or the Alternative Fuel Vehicles Incentives Act into law will lead to an era of cheaper, cleaner cars that will help reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, said Senator Ralph Recto, one of the sponsors of the bill.

"Every hour, our motor vehicles consume millions of liters of gasoline. Every hour, 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide is pumped into the air, a carbon footprint which requires the planting of 56,000 trees to absorb all that poison, every hour we spend P53,000 ($4,159) to treat pollution-related diseases and to compensate for productivity losses and every hour, four Filipinos die from dirty air," he stressed.

Under the provisions of the new law, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives shall be given to the importation and manufacture of electric, hybrid and other vehicles using alternative energy including, but not limited to, solar, wind, hydrogen fuel cell, compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas, methane, and liquefied petroleum gas.

According to Mr. Recto, manufacturers or assemblers of completely knocked down A.F.V. units, including the conversion of vehicles into electric, hybrid and other A.F.V.s, shall be exempted from payment of excise taxes and duties for nine years. This also applies to importers of entirely built A.F.V. units.

Meanwhile, A.F.V. owners are exempted from the payment of the Motor Vehicle User's Charge upon the registration of their vehicles.

Non-fiscal incentives grants under the proposed legislation would include priority in the registration and issuances of plate numbers and priority in franchise applications for public utility vehicles.

The bill was initially filed on May 31, 2011 through the effort of former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and incumbent senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Antonio Trillanes IV, Ralph Recto, Lito Lapid, Bongbong Marcos, Loren Legarda and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III. It was co-sponsored by Loren Legarda. – C. Dominguez

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