We've heard the news before. In an effort to ramp up development for infrastructure, vehicles will soon be affected by the excise tax. This means higher sticker prices of cars, which we covered a few months ago. Despite that, the government is sticking to the CARS Program, also known as the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy Program.

During the Dutertenomics press conference, budget secretary Benjamin Diokno made a statement when asked about the enticing more manufacturers to join the program. He said, “I don't think that's the main focus of the government. I would rather see the government build more mass transit systems rather than encouraging the ownership of cars.” He also mentioned an alternative way for government officials to be transported around the Metro. “In government, I would rather (see) people use Uber, rather than have their own personal cars.”

Diokno: CARS program currently not the main focus of gov't

However, Secretary Diokno believes that the automotive sector is in good hands. He stated that with over 105 million Filipinos that “would like to own cars”, there will always be a market for automobiles in the country. However, it doesn't mean that the CARS program has been placed on the backburner.

When the first locally-assembled Mitsubishi Mirage was presented to President Duterte, he also made a comment regarding the CARS Program. “We will ensure that its impact will be fair and supportive of your (Mitsubishi's) growth as participants in the CARS Program”, said Duterte. At the moment, Mitsubishi is building the Mirage, Mirage G4 and the L300 in their Santa Rosa, Laguna plant.

Another participant of the CARS program is Toyota; the company is producing the Vios and Innova at Santa Rosa.