E-vehicle law seen to help PHL lure more hi-tech investments

THE enactment of the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (Evida) will help the Philippines attract more high-tech investments, according to Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

“With Evida, the Philippines is now in a stronger position to further attract hi-tech investments and create high-value jobs in the country by taking advantage of the ongoing global shift to EVs [electric vehicles] through strong national policy support,” Lopez said.

Lopez considers this measure a move towards reducing direct usage of oil products in transport. In effect, this signifies mitigating air and noise pollution in urban areas, according to the trade chief. Further, this will reduce the transportation sector’s direct dependence on oil, especially amid rising fuel prices affecting both businesses and consumers, he added.

Evida, or Republic Act (RA) 11697, provides for a national policy framework to develop the electric vehicle industry in the Philippines. The law aims to promote innovation in the field of clean energy and sustainable transportation while developing a sunrise industry in the country and generating more employment.

In addition, Evida sets clear policy directions for the government to raise awareness on EVs, streamline regulations, boost local demand to attract EV production and build a robust EV-charging infrastructure.

Further, the law mandates the crafting of a Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry (Crevi), which will be a national development plan for the EV industry to expedite the development, commercialization and utilization of EVs.

The Evida will also serve as a blueprint for a comprehensive and coordinated policy direction among national government agencies in terms of promoting EV to ensure investors’ confidence and attract EV-related investments.

As provided by the law, the Board of Investments (BOI) is assigned to craft an EV Incentive Strategy (Evis) similar to the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, which shall provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to narrow the production cost gap between EVs and traditional vehicles and achieve local EV production targets by 2030.

Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Competitiveness and Innovation Group Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba emphasized the importance of Evida for the Philippines amid rising competition in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to attract EV-manufacturing investments.

“The Evis will allow the government to provide competitive and industry-specific fiscal and non-fiscal support to attract private sector investments in strategic EV segments, especially manufacturing, which is a crucial step in deepening our participation in the regional automotive value chain,” Aldaba said.

Following the deployment of the first ever EVs in-mall free charging stations last month, Lopez said the DTI is crafting an executive order that will allow the rechanneling of funds for the third participant of the CARS program to EV manufacturing.

Last week, he said the EO needs to be released before Congress resumes session on May 23.

The Evida is among DTI’s priority legislative agenda for the 18th Congress. According to the DTI, this, together with the passage of other economic bills supported by the agency, will strengthen the Philippine government’s efforts to speed up industrial recovery and enhance the country’s national competitiveness.