More jobs for PH as production hub

THE Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) Cebu sees a positive sign for the export industry in job generation, after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) pushed to make the Philippines a production hub.

Fred Escalona, executive director of PhilExport Cebu, said that the move could see more Filipinos employed.

“The good thing there is it contributes to Philippine labor,” he told SunStar Cebu.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez highlighted the potential of the Philippines as a production hub and exporter of vehicles in Southeast Asia, in a meeting with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) chief executive officer Osamu Masuko.

Lopez requested MMC to start producing car models that can be exported. Lopez, in a statement, said this effort will improve the country’s trade.

“The intention is to produce specific models that will be exported to our neighbors in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). The good thing here is, as MMC is already present in other Asean countries like Thailand and Indonesia, they are planning to make certain countries a production hub for certain models, which will serve their respective domestic and export markets,” Lopez said.

Currenty, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) locally produces the Mirage/G4 under the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (Cars) program.

The Cars program “aims to attract investments, stimulate demand, develop a vibrant local auto parts supplier base, and implement industry regulations that will revitalize the country’s automotive industry to turn it into a regional automotive manufacturing hub,” the DTI said.

Masuko said MMC plans to produce more Mirage/G4 units and L300 units in the Philippines and start exporting these to Southeast Asian markets by 2019. They also plan to collaborate with the Philippine government to develop the electric vehicle in the country.

“We keep saying that building an export manufacturing base is the way to go. It is also a good import substitution strategy. Through this initiative, we will address the trade imbalance and provide more jobs to our countrymen,” Lopez said.

However, Escalona said this does not yet mean vehicles would become cheaper.

“There’s still the value-added tax (VAT) and the Train (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law,” he said.

Escalona said even if investors enjoy a tax holiday for putting up a manufacturing hub in the country, it is still up for debate, citing pending bills in Congress.

“An advantage that a locator could enjoy is a tax holiday for five years. But even that is still up to the government because under the (Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities or Trabaho bill), there will be a reduction of the income tax holiday,” he said. (JOB)


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