Yes, EVs will be UVVRP exempt

About 6 months ago, Republic Act 11697 or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) officially became a law. Actually, the bill wasn't even a priority as it lapsed into law instead of being signed into law.

Regardless of how it came into being, the EV law (as it is more popularly known) puts forth some measures to try and make electric vehicles more viable in the Philippine setting. It seeks to address the lack of infrastructure by encouraging and mandating certain establishments to put up EV charging stations, to lay the groundwork for the auto industry to be a player in the supply chain of EVs or even assembling EVs outright, and proposes incentives to entice car buyers to actually consider and make an EV their daily driven vehicle.

One of the more significant benefits that were listed in the law was an exemption from number coding in places where these vehicle volume reduction programs are being implemented. And just recently, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) released their memorandum to make it official.

MMDA EV coding exemption image

The Traffic Discipline Office (TDO) of the MMDA is directing their TDO units, Sector Heads, and Traffic Enforcers to not apprehend and issue tickets for number coding or UVVRP violations to electric vehicles. This is in line with the new law.

Of course, there are going to be some issues for the time being as the special plate for EVs is still being rolled out, so it's not easy to distinguish an EV from an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle. The memorandum did not come with a list of vehicle models available in the market that are classified as EVs, so for the time being we may see EVs get flagged. Surely once they demonstrate that they have the paperwork (or go down to pop the hood) then all should be well.

The rub, however, is that this just pertains to MMDA traffic enforcers which are primarily responsible for roads like EDSA and C-5. The law appears to give LGUs a discretionary option because of how UVVRP exemptions could impact the volume of vehicles on their roads. Unless all LGUs in Metro Manila (e.g. Makati) or around the country (e.g. Baguio) issue their own memorandums, then EV drivers should be cautious and check first.

Given that the measures of the law are “non-fiscal” in nature for the end user (meaning no special discounts, rebates, tax exemptions apart from the existing one on excise tax under TRAIN law) then only the few that can afford an EV can really experience the coding exemption. People who can afford an EV at current prices are likely to have multiple cars and have no real need for priority registration.