Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the 15th President of the Philippines, has passed away. The former President was 61 years old.
As is with any presidency, Aquino's term was met with controversy and praise. However, he made a significant contribution to the local motoring industry. Before the end of his term, Aquino signed the CARS (Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy) Program in a bid to entice automakers to assemble more automobiles in the country through incentives.
Aquino signed the CARS Program on May 29, 2015, with about a year left in his term. Also known as Executive Order No. 182, it was meant to “stimulate demand and effectively implement industry regulations that will revitalize the Philippine automotive industry, and develop the country as a regional automotive manufacturing hub”.
At the time it was signed, it was expected to generate economic activity worth around PHP 300 billion and at least a 1.7% growth in the national GDP. But the CARS Program wasn't just about assembling vehicles in the country. It also included parts manufacturing such as large car body panels, bumpers, instrument panels, headlamps, shock absorbers, plastic fuel tanks, automotive fabric, and others. It was also meant to create approximately 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the course of six years. There was even a plan to create a shared local testing facility for vehicles and parts as part of the program.
What else was Aquino's contribution to the transport and motoring sector? He signed the Philippine Lemon Law (Republic Act 10642) on July 15, 2014, with guidelines such as a Lemon Law Rights period (1 year or 20,000 kilometers, whichever comes first) and a minimum of 4 attempts to fix the same consumer complaint. He also signed a law that bans children from riding motorcycles on major thoroughfares or areas with speed limits exceeding 60 km/h. It was known as the Children's Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015 or RA 10666.
But aside from signing the CARS Program and other laws, Aquino was also a car enthusiast. He was a special guest during the third Philippine International Motor Show and even hung around to soak in all the sights and sounds of the exhibition.
Rest in peace Benigno Aquino III.