The Vintage Vehicle Regulation Act
There is no question that there is a proposed law for anything and everything you can think of in either the Senate or House of Representatives. Whatever catches your fancy, there's probably a Senate Bill and House Bill for it.
In the field of cars, there's another new bill being pushed through the House of Representatives, and it's a rather specific one: it concerns vintage automobiles.
What we're referring to is House Bill 9884, otherwise known as The Vintage Vehicles Regulation Act. What the HB proposes is that it is in the interest of the state to pass a policy that recognizes the cultural, historical, and economic value of vintage automobiles.
While many consider vehicles to be vintage if they were built before the onset of crumple zones or the proliferation of electronic fuel injection, what the bill states is rather unusual: it defines “vintage vehicles” as 30 years old based on the date of manufacturing. If we understood that correctly, vehicles made as late as mid-1991 would be considered “vintage” if the law came into effect today.
The proposed law will relax import restrictions for such vehicles, going so far as to state that anyone may import a vintage vehicle and register it as a vintage vehicle with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
There are questions about the safety and emissions as many -if not all of these vehicles may not meet modern standards; even something as basic as seatbelts were not fitted on much older vehicles. But the bill states that vehicles registered as vintage will be exempt from laws that were passed after the car was built, though owners can modify the vehicles (e.g. install/retrofit seatbelts) to be able to meet newer standards.
The bill also says that right-hand drive vehicles will be allowed to be imported and registered into the country. This would apply to vehicles built before 1971 and would amend the prohibition we have against right-hand drive vehicles. So if you see vintage cars on the road on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday with the steering wheel on the right side, this will explain it.
We mentioned Saturday, Sunday, or holidays for a reason: the bill stipulates limited or occasional use only. While the vintage vehicle will be allowed for registration, the vehicle will not be allowed to be driven on weekdays. The only exceptions are if the vehicle is being brought to the LTO for registration purposes, or for limited commercial matters such as movies, ads, pictorials, weddings, or motorcades.
One noteworthy point is that even amidst the pandemic, this bill is being given priority by no less than 40 members of Congress. Actually, this bill has already passed the third reading at the House. There seems to be no Senate version yet that has been made public.
Perhaps the lawmakers were swayed by the potential for the potential economic benefits of the bill, as it seems to open up the market to vehicle restorers in the Philippines to be able to import vintage cars, restore, and export the same. There have been several businesses located in Subic and Clark that operated that way. There's also the possibility of growing the local parts industry to support vintage and classic car restorers abroad with new parts.
Below is a copy of the bill that you can peruse at your leisure.