Third Philippine International Motor Show

President of The Philippines
On the Occasion of the Third Philippine International Motor Show
[August 19, 2010, World Trade Center, Pasay City]

Good morning.
As a car lover, let me begin by expressing my gratitude to the officers and members of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Incorporated for inviting me to address you in today’s event, the 3rd Philippine International Motor Show. I would like to congratulate all the participating vehicle manufacturers, assemblers and distributors who made this motor show possible. This is my idea of fun, and this is less a duty than it is a time to unwind and share good times.
I must confess: driving peacefully on a smooth, empty highway is one of my favorite luxuries. I did manage to get behind the wheel a few times despite my hectic schedule, much to the horror of my security people. Nowadays, I am clearly deprived, and I know my passion for driving fast cars will have to take a backseat for now.
So you understand that it is a pleasure to be here, not just because of that but because your industry’s performance has been nothing short of exceptional. According to the Department of Labor and Employment, 74,700 Filipinos are employed as vehicle assemblers, distributors, parts and components manufacturers, and vehicle dealers. Most of these workers are breadwinners for over half a million dependent family members.
Sa madaling sabi, higit sa limandaang-libong Pilipino ang may naihahain sa kanilang hapag, salamat po sa tulong ninyo.
Your industry is helping us get our economy gear up for change. With a total investment amounting to 100 billion pesos, you have contributed over 20 billion pesos in duties and taxes to the national account. Your withholding taxes amount to an estimated P325 million annually. This means additional funds your government can devote to delivering basic services, such as more classrooms or better hospital facilities for our countrymen. Katumbas po ng perang ibinubuwis ninyo ang limandaang classroom[1] na maaaring magpunla ng kinabukasan ng dalawampu’t limang libong kabataan[2] kada taon. Maraming salamat po para rito.
It’s good to note that business is good. You have registered a 37.1% sales increase during the first 6 months of 2010, and it is good to hear you continue to expect business to be brisk. You have increased your growth target to 11%, which suggests an opportunity to be at par, in terms of quality and delivery, with our Asian counterparts, in terms of your industry.
The story these numbers tell is clear: it is the story of an industry that is resilient and stable. It is the story of an industry with increasing confidence. It is a story full of promise: of further growth that will bring more opportunities in the coming years as a result of our improved capabilities to offer more competitive products in terms of cost and quality.
This includes finding ways to adapt to emergent technologies, so that we can continue the positive trend in the industry.
In 2009, industry sales reached 132,444 units for motor vehicles and motorcycles, over a million units short of the existing plant capacity of about 1.19 million units. If our nation’s recent history has taught us anything, it is that all of us must draw our strength from others who surround us. Let us utilize the tools and facilities at our disposal; let us maximize the partnerships you can form with local supplemental industries such as steel, rubber, plastic, chemicals, paints, to name just a few.
These partnerships will not only generate employment and financial security for millions of our people, but will also jump-start the local production of reasonably priced passenger cars, empowering our small and medium manufacturers, and ensuring a vigorous Philippine automotive industry.
The world we live in is confronted with a serious environmental crisis. To address it, many countries, including the Philippines, have opted for green technologies. These include alternatives to fossil fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas already used by most taxis in Metro Manila, compressed natural gas used by some bus companies, ethanol blended in gasoline fuel, and coco-methyl ester, a coconut-based fuel blend recommended for diesel engines.
Supportive of such efforts, you have chosen “driving the green road” as the theme of your motor show. This reflects the government’s commitment to ecologically sustainable programs. Aside from its resource-saving benefits, this is a chance for Filipino scientists to demonstrate their skills in innovation as countries compete to meet increasing demand for advanced, environmentally friendly technologies.
Your government will support efforts to enhance your Motor Vehicle Development Program, that will promote exports of both motor vehicles and parts and components; support parts manufacturing and auto-supporting industry development through an industry development fund; and establish standards and technical regulations.
We want to help ensure your success because your industry’s success is the story of our people. One thing is clear; our people have come united under a single banner, and that is the banner of hope. Fueled by renewed optimism, we are shifting to a higher gear, towards progress and prosperity.
Our administration is eager to rebuild this nation with you. We are eager to show the world what the Filipino can do; we are eager to restore our national dignity. We are eager to write the next chapter in the story of our people and our nation. How often have we heard that our nation is a jeepney? Outmoded, but somehow, chugging along. We have to rev things up, to go from the service road of slow growth, to the expressway of high growth. I know this feeling – there is no greater sense of freedom than taking the wheel on a smooth highway.
Panahon na upang humataw ang ating ekonomiya. The Philippines is once again open for business. Gentlemen and ladies, start your engines. The race is on.
Maraming salamat po.

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