Republic Act (RA) 11697 or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act could be one of the most important laws that the Duterte administration would leave behind.
The EV Act seeks to develop the Philippine electric vehicle (EV) industry and create a Comprehensive Roadmap for the EV Industry (CREVI). The law covers the manufacture, assembly, construction, import, trade and regulation of EVs, related equipment and their charging stations, and the tax incentives accompanying these projects.
The law also requires companies, public transport operators and government agencies to ensure that at least five percent of their fleet should comprise of EVs.
The law is unique in itself because it marks the Philippine government’s resolve to participate in the global push to save our planet with the use of cleaner energy and away from the fossil fuel.
The consolidated bill, which lapsed into law on April 15, comes at a time when prices of fuel are at its highest.
Various government agencies including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, among others, are mandated to carry out the law’s implementation.
To jumpstart, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez already fired the first salvo to start the ball rolling with hearings by the Tariff Commission for zero tariff on imported completely built-up EVs from the current 30 percent rate.
Under the law, imported EVs shall be exempt from payment of duties for eight years from its effectivity. This is to encourage the use of more EVs and subsequently develop the EV infrastructure in the country. This would be the most immediate impact of the law.
SM, the country’s largest shopping center-chain, has launched initial EV charging stations in select malls free of use for their customers.
Mandated under the law as the primary government agency in the promotion and development of the local EV manufacturing industry, DTI has already started meeting potential investors in battery production for EVs utilizing local nickel and other minerals, which are currently exported raw and imported as finished materials.
The EV Act will also give more impetus to the country’s Public Utility Modernization Program.
In addition, the EV sector will benefit from the P9-billion maximum tax incentives being offered under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program of the Board of Investments.
Lopez vowed to work on the draft executive order that will make the EV sector part of the CARS program and ensure its signing by President Duterte before he steps down from office on June 30.
Aside from the CARS program, EV is now listed in the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP) to ensure that EV projects, including EV infrastructure, will receive government support.
Industries in the SIPP can avail of fiscal incentives of 4 to 7 years of income tax holiday (ITH) for manufacturers, and even a special corporate income tax after the ITH.
The new EV industry will create more jobs and bring in new technology. The full impact of this law is not expected to be immediate, but it certainly ushers in a new era of awareness among Filipinos towards green mobility.