Friday, September 29, 2006

open letter to the President

An open letter to the President of the Philippines from the people of the Philippines who have gratefully become consumers of used Vehicles imported through Subic Bay Freeport.

Dear Ms Arroyo,

This letter is written by the people for the people, we have NO FINANCIAL INTEREST, COMMISSIONS OR POLITICAL PREFERENCE to be gained from the importation of used vehicles into the Philippines but rather benefit solely from the opportunity to obtain vehicles for family and small business use at prices affordable to Filipinos in the setting of the Philippine economy and our wish to put our best effort into growing the economy of the Philippines and giving every Filipino a better life.

While we the people of the Philippines respect the wisdom of the President in developing the Philippine economy, far too much is being said by on the subject of used vehicle imports by people who either have a vested interest in the importation or by those who are jealous because they have not been able to profit from it. These “interest groups” are only representing their own interests rather than the interests of the Filipino people

While the supreme courts argue about the legalities of EO418 and EO156 and certain “interest groups” throw in their biased opinions the ultimate losers are the Filipino people. We seek your timely intervention in this matter to improve the lives of thousands of Filipinos who benefit from high quality low cost imports by allowing the continuation of controlled imports through Subic Bay Freeport.

The simple facts of used vehicle imports is that the provision of these imports places NEWER, CLEANER, SAFER, MORE ECONOMICAL vehicles in the hands of the voting, tax paying people of the Philippines, the same people who elect and pay for the operation of the government.


No one can deny the influx of 5 year old used cars has taken thousands of Filipinos out of “owner jeeps” and into comfortable, safe, air conditioned vans.

Vehicles like the “owner jeep” are illegal in almost every country of the world, their lack of proper seats, seat belts, design rule compliance, crash test engineering, crumple zones, safety glass and thousands of other engineering features makes “owner jeeps”, that are usually overloaded with big Filipino families DEATH TRAPS!.

The people wish to respond to the four most popular anti-import Myths that are lobbied by the “interest groups”.


Countries like the United States and Japan where these vehicles are designed and originally built MUST comply to very ridged design standards, which are not present in the Philippine motor vehicle industry. These vehicles provide proper seating with seat belts and other safety features such as air bags in many units.

Some parties try to suggest that these vehicles are less safe because some of them are converted from right to left hand drive, however the manufacturers of these vehicles spend millions of dollars designing these vehicles to be supplied into different markets in both left and right hand drive configurations, not to overlook the fact that many of these vehicles are original Left hand drive USA Export vehicles.

For the vehicles that are converted from right to left hand drive, it is the LTO who is best equipped and mandated to ensure the conversion is done correctly prior to registration, after all if independent emission testing facilities can be setup across the Philippines why can’t the LTO have independent conversion engineering centers? That of course is there is any real evidence that any conversion has really been found to be poorly done. The LTO already enforces windscreen wiper conversion so clearly this is within their power.


Five year old, even ten year old emission standards in Japan and the USA exceed what is required in the Philippines. These countries had unleaded fuel in the 1980s and banned cars running on leaded fuel years before the Philippines even had unleaded fuel available at the pumps.

Filipino’s will find a way to transport themselves and their families whether they use old un-roadworthy junk cars, owner jeeps or smoke belching buses these vehicles damage the environment as well as subjecting their family members to bodily injury. The fact remains that higher emission standards on imported vehicles can improve the effect on the environment over locally built, owner jeeps or old beaten up junk cars.


People, who buy new cars, would not be interested in purchasing a 5 to 10 year old second hand import regardless of the price. The paranoia of local car makers that they are “loosing their protection” should not be to the detriment of the Filipino people who deserve to have affordable, safe transport options, options it seems the local car manufacturers cannot deliver. After all, if a new vehicle manufacturer is afraid of 5 year old second hand cars there must be something terribly wrong with the new product.


Every used vehicle is assessed for taxes by the Bureau of Customers. Not allowing used imported vehicles or over taxing these vehicles surely deprives the government of far greater taxes than could possibly be recouped elsewhere. Forcing Filipino families back into owner jeeps or other cheap transport removes taxes that could otherwise be collected. Given that low cost used imports also make older vehicles dispensable, consumers will be repeat tax payers on the duties of used import vehicles. This also reduces the burden on tax payers in other areas including law enforcement. Anyone who has driven around the streets in the last few months will have noticed that the volume of smoke belching, rust riddled, un-roadworthy 20+ year old cars and owner jeeps has gone down at the same rate that shiny clean 5 year old vans and SUVs has increased. This is a direct benefit of the used imports and an undeniable improvement to the streets of the Philippines.


Many Filipino families have finally been able to create small business opportunities through the availability of affordable used vehicle imports. This has resulted in a surge of economic growth in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector as Filipinos are empowered to contribute to the economic growth of the country by getting involved in businesses that were previously out of reach due to the cost of capital equipment such as vans and trucks. This growth in business also results in increased opportunities for tax collection by the government.

Madam President, the evidence is overwhelming; second hand vehicle imports SHOULD be allowed to continue for the safety, development, prosperity and happiness of THE PEOPLE.

Yours truly,

The People of the Philippines

No comments: