Several advocacy groups are urging Malacañang to amend an existing executive order (EO) granting import incentives to include electric motorcycles as an affordable alternative for Filipinos to shift to zero-emission commuting.
Think-tank Stratbase ADR Institute president, Prof. Victor Andres Manhit in a posted statement said that “EO 12 as it is now, excludes motorcycles from import tax exemptions but covers vehicles with four wheels – which are afforded only by higher-income individuals.”
“Millions of working Filipinos opt for two and three-wheel vehicles because of their income limitations. They are the most vulnerable to the increase in prices of fuel and other basic commodities. Making electric motorcycles more affordable means no more worries on spiking petroleum prices and pollution-free transportation for the masses,” Manhit said.
Engineer Felix Vitangcol, Secretary General of Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST), said Executive Order 12, which grants tax incentives to those purchasing four-wheeled electric vehicles, is a step in the right direction — but is lacking.
According to a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) report, 80 percent of air pollution comes from petroleum-fueled vehicles while 20 percent are from other sources. The 2022 Statista data counts 7.81 million registered motorcycles and tricycles in the Philippines.
EO 12, signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in January this year, lowers the tariff rate for certain types of electric vehicles, ranging from five to 30 percent, to zero percent import duty.
Two-wheeled electric motorcycles, however, are still subject to a 30-percent import duty.
“It is true that electric-powered vehicles will correct air pollution, lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Vitangcol said.
Still, it is not too late.
“It is the government’s role to spearhead a shift to electric
vehicles,” said Vitangcol. “EO 12 should be more inclusive, so that more Filipinos can access the more responsible, more environmentally viable option of commuting.”
Other consumer and industry groups are likewise clamoring for zero import tax on electric motorcycles
Edmund Araga, President of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines, acknowledges that the EO opens a very good opportunity for EV enthusiasts and advocates interested in owning one.
“Consumers will experience a wide array of models to choose from depending on their preferences,” Araga said, adding that EO12 will help increase the adoption of electric vehicles in the local market.
Tim Vargas, co-founder and chairman of Electric Kick Scooter Philippines, said in February that it is unfair that electric motorcycles were not given tax breaks given to other EV types.
“The significant utilization of two-wheeled motorcycles along with the EV industry can contribute to enhancing the employment rate of the country,” Vargas said.
“Thus, the exclusion of electric motorcycles in EO12 should be clarified further and revisited.”
Consumer rights group Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3) also issued a statement appealing to the President to expand tax incentives granted to four-wheel electric vehicles to cover two- and three-wheel vehicles.
“Those who are already given tax perks are vehicle owners from the AB socio-economic bracket,” Louie Montemar, BK3 convenor, said in an earlier statement. “Correcting this exclusion is the right thing to do,”
Another consumer advocacy group, CitizenWatch Philippines has also echoed the call for the EO’s expansion.
“Filipino motorists – whatever vehicle they drive – are aware that we need to resort to more sustainable means of powering their everyday activities, and to minimize pollution,” said Orlando Oxales, co-convenor of CW.
“But they are constrained by the prohibitive costs of these ‘green’ alternatives, thus consigning them to stick to the old, dirty, and inefficient transport modes,” he said.
“The policy is discriminatory because it limits the benefits to higher-income individuals who can afford four-wheel cars,” CW added.