Gracing the ceremonial launch was Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, accompanied by a number of senior officials, including Dept. of Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, Dept. of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Angelo Reyes and the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission to the Philippines, Rick Haynes as well as other diplomats. Also present were Laguna Gov. Teresita Lazaro, Sta. Rosa City Mayor-elect Arlene Arcilla-Nazareno and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Lilia de Lima.
Upon arriving at the Ford Santa Rosa Plant, the President took a guided tour of the newly constructed facility with Ford President Rick Baker, Ford Group Philippines Chairman Henry Co and Dave Alden, vice president of Marketing, Sales and Service, Asia Pacific and Africa. After which she took a ride in a Ford Focus using the Flex Fuel Engine.
During her speech, The President acknowledged Ford's support for the government's program to develop environment-friendly fuels and the new plant reaffirmed the company's commitment to the Philippines. GMA lauded Ford Motor Company for choosing the Philippines over other countries and Ford plants worldwide as the production base for the FFV engine.
Ford chose the Philippines over Ford plants in Spain, Mexico and China.
The President also said that contrary to popular belief, the Philippines is not just an assembly industry, but also produces major components "the most major of which is the engine produced by Ford," Calling the Ford Plant in Greenfield Park the Detroit of the Philippines.
Dept. of Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila lauded Ford stating "The Philippines government applauds Ford's role in helping encourage investment in the local agro-industrial sector to produce and distribute alternative fuels. Ford continues to be a leading advocate for driving the advancement of the Philippines' biofuels industry [and helping reduce our dependence on imported oil]," explained Favila.
Ford Philippines FFV engine production over the next five years is expected to reach 105,000 units valued at P6.5 billion (US$136 million). About 100 skilled technical and support positions will be filled exclusively by Filipinos.
Rick Baker, President of Ford Philippines showed appreciation for the Philippine government's ongoing support and also said "we're proud of our collaborative work to lead the Philippines' automotive industry in developing the country's biofuels industry and implementation and use of alternative fuels,"
The FFV engines shall also be used in the local production of the Ford Focus that is currently exported to ASEAN markets, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. These were the first E20-capable vehicle to be manufactured in the ASEAN region.