More lawmakers are seeking the enactment of incentives for the manufacture and importation of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles which would help lessen the country's dependence on oil and protect the environment from pollution.

The most recent proposal, House Bill 5161, was filed by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and his brother Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao) who both noted there are very few hybrid vehicles being sold in the country because of their expensive prices caused by the high excise and other taxes imposed by the government.

As cited by the Representatives, figures from Toyota Motor Philippines, Inc. indicate that only about 100 hybrid vehicles were sold by the car company since they started to offer these vehicles in the local market. According to the two solons, in terms of energy-saving efficiency, test driving results show that a full tank of unleaded gasoline costing P1,800 for hybrid vehicles would equal the distance traveled by vehicles with full tank of diesel costing P3,000.

House Bill 5161 or the proposed "Electric, Hybrid and Other Alternative Fuel Vehicles Incentives Act of 2011," provides it is the policy of the State to safeguard life and environment by encouraging the use of alternative sources of energy for vehicles intended for private and public life.

The bill offers many tax-related incentives including the suspension of excise tax for the manufacture or assembly of completely-knocked down (CKD) parts of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles, the suspension of the value-added tax (VAT) for the purchase and importation of raw materials, spare parts, components and capital equipment used in the manufacture or assembly of such vehicles, while the importation of completely built-up units (CBU) will also be exempt from excise taxes and duties. Such incentives will be in place for 9 years from the effectivity of the bill.

To encourage the purchase of hybrids, such vehicles will also be exempt from the payment of the Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MVUC) being imposed by the Land Transportation Office, as well as priority in registration and issuance of plate number, priority in franchise application (for public vehicles, i.e. taxis), exemption from Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP, commonly known as number coding) and the provision for free parking space in new establishments.

If passed, this will be the most comprehensive bill regarding hybrids and alternative fuel technologies, and could significantly reduce the price as well as the cost of ownership of such vehicles.