Congressman Wes Gatchalian is making vintage car ownership easier

Did you ever wish the Philippines would allow again the importation of vehicles? A few decades ago, it would be common to see imported vehicles from Japan and around the world driving along the streets. Well, we might be able to see imported vehicles roaming the streets once more, assuming this new bill passes. Unlike before, however, this time it will be limited to “vintage vehicles”.

Cong. Wes Gatchalian wants to allow imports of vintage, RHD cars image

Congressman Wes Gatchalian recently filed House Bill 8244, or the Vintage Vehicle Act. According to Gatchalian, the bill was filed to consider vintage vehicles as part of the country's historical and cultural heritage. Specifically, his announcement says that “vintage vehicles should be considered national treasures”.

“I believe we are just custodians for the next generations that why we need to promote, protect and preserve these vintage vehicles. They have not only passed the test of time but also serve as testimonial to the ingenuity, artistry, and skills of their mechanics and builders as well as of dedication and passion of their owners,” said Gatchalian, who is a car enthusiast himself. 

If passed, it would create the Vintage Vehicle Registration and Assessment Office (VVRAO), an office under the Land Transporation Office (LTO). The new agency would then oversee the administration and implementation of the proposal.

Cong. Wes Gatchalian wants to allow imports of vintage, RHD cars image

But what defines a “vintage vehicle”? Under the bill, the vehicles that can register and benefit from should be at least 30 years old from the date of manufacturer. More importantly, it says that the “chassis, engine, steering, and suspension are either original or authentic”. The body must also remain unaltered in general appearance. Other incentives of the vintage vehicles include “exemption from the Clean Air Act, anti-pollution test, safety and road-use, and other standards not enforced at the time of manufacture”. Vintage vehicles with lost registration documents will also be given amnesty upon submission of a personal affidavit and police clearance.

Probably the best news about House Bill 8244 is that importation of classic cars would be allowed once again, including right-hand drive vehicles. The proposed bill says vintage vehicles may be imported to the Philippines, and the prohibition on importation, registration, and use of right-hand drive vehicles shall not apply.

Cong. Wes Gatchalian wants to allow imports of vintage, RHD cars image

There is a catch to the Vintage Vehicle Act. All vehicles registered as vintage will exhibit special license plates bearing the words “Vintage Vehicle” to identify their distinct class. More so, these vehicles can only be used on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays as not to burden the government with additional vehicles on the road. Vintage vehicles will also not be allowed to be used as public utility vehicles or for the commercial transport of goods.

Good news for us car enthusiasts, but for now the bill is still under consideration. Let's hope it passes and is turned into law.