We may see the return of the right-hand drive vehicle or RHD if this bill is passed. If you ever watched and Fast and The Furious movie and wondered why some cars had different driving positions, these cars were “imports” which meant it wasn’t locally available.
Imported vehicles are normally found in the gray market. Some are usually converted to left-hand-drive or LHD so that they can be used locally because our laws only permit LHD vehicles. Other untouched RHD vehicles are just kept for collection by car guys with very deep pockets. Importing cars is very expensive and with the taxes and duties paid, might even come out more expensive than their local counterparts.
House Bill 1630, which was introduced by Congressman Jose Ch. Alvarez, will seek to amend Republic Act No. 8506 (banning the registration and operations of vehicles with RHD steering wheel in any private or public street, road, or highway, providing penalties therefor and for other purposes) and encourage local transport businesses to flourish under the BIMP - EAGA memorandum of understanding (MOU). This basically means that interested parties may start to bring in RHD vehicles from other ASEAN registered countries and not have to pay too much for taxes and duties once the bill becomes law.
The vintage vehicle law which lapsed into law earlier this year, now allows people to bring in RHD vehicles but will only apply to vehicles manufactured on or before December 31, 1970. Should House Bill No. 1630 become law, vehicles can be brought in if they were of a certain age and only may be “updated” if this bill becomes law. The solon says that out of the ten (10) ASEAN countries, only three (3) are still using LHD vehicles and he is hoping that with this bill becoming law, the Philippines will join the majority of the ASEAN fellowship.
Aside from allowing RHD vehicles in the country, this bill will also entertain the idea of foreigners coming to the Philippines via “Ro-Ro”. They can enter the Philippines via the declared ports in the bill namely Mindanao and Palawan. Other ports may later be recognized by the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The bill further states that the rules and regulations about passports and visas will be in effect when visitors enter via this gateway.
There are a lot of things to consider still before bringing RHD vehicles to our streets. Most of our infrastructure is made for LHD vehicles and there will be a transition period if this bill becomes law. We can already see the tuner culture getting excited about this, but are you?