The Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP) is starting the year right by pushing for the immediate approval of the auto industry roadmap, which the group believes is the key to making the country the next automotive manufacturing hub in the region. MVPMAP is made up of around 125 local auto parts makers.
The auto industry roadmap, once approved, is expected to \"provide clearer short-, medium- and long-term directions for the local auto industry,\" said the group in a press statement. \"This includes the local auto parts sub-industry and the alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) sub-industry such as the emerging electric vehicles segment. Hopefully, local vehicle manufacturers can participate more strongly in the growing Philippine auto market.\"
MVPMAP president Ferdinand Raquelsantos added that \"given the right clear-cut directions, incentives and business environment, some car manufacturers that have local manufacturing in the country are now contemplating on expanding their operations here. This is a tremendous opportunity for the Philippines\' auto industry, which employs some 70,000 highly skilled workers, including those in upstream and downstream sectors. And this has a multiplier effect of 3.6 per employee, one of the highest in the manufacturing sector.\"
Raquelsantos also noted that in many developing countries, automotive assembly is \"usually one of the backbones of their manufacturing industry. In the Philippines, this is not the case.\"
Now, here is the interesting part. According to MVPMAP external affairs vice president Rommel Juan, car manufacturers have now reached \"a tipping point.\"
\"They are now at a crossroads, poised to decide exactly when and where to expand to serve the growing needs of the local and Asian markets,\" Juan said. \"They need to make concrete and firm decisions now. We have missed the boat several times already in the past, and this has resulted in our auto industry being left behind by our Asian neighbors. Even Vietnam is now poised to overtake us. It is a pity because in the past, we were the front runner in the auto industry in the region.\"
Juan is referring to the fact that \"20 years ago, we missed the boat and it went to Thailand. Then 10 years ago, we missed it once again as it went to China. If we do not get our acts together and finally approve our local auto industry roadmap, we will again miss the boat which is set to sail now for Indonesia.\"
But there is still hope, apparently.
\"This time, if we play our cards right, we might get the much-needed foreign investments that will help expand local production of vehicles in country,\" explained Juan. \"This, in turn, will give the local auto-parts making and AFV industries a much-needed shot in the arm. We stand to double the jobs generated by the auto industry to about 140,000 people. And these jobs will be as sustainable as service industries like BPOs and retail. Investments will also be more tangible as it will entail hard investments in real estate, capital equipment and raw materials that will be needed when factories are expanded.\"
Well, do you think Malacañang is listening?
Photo by Vernon B. Sarne