The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) and the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists (SPMJ) joined forces to host AVID’s second economic and political briefing of 2019.
The two organizations invited Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba to discuss the future of the Philippine automotive industry and the budding local market for electric vehicles (EVs). In hosting their second forum of the year, AVID hopes to reaffirm its commitment to sustaining inter-sector dialogue on auto industry competitiveness amidst ever-shifting local, regional, and global socio-economic backdrops.
In her welcome remarks, AVID President Maria Fe Perez-Agudo said, “What will be the growth track for this economy? This is something important to think about. And while we won’t stop talking and discussing, we should move on to action in the interest of the industry’s sustainability. The media can amplify our voice; let’s start with a more fruitful partnership today.”
Agudo was optimistic that AVID’s partnership with the SPMJ will strengthen efforts to communicate auto industry policies to the general public. The forum itself was live-streamed on Motoring Today’s Facebook page.
Undersecretary Aldaba leads the DTI’s initiatives for establishing an inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in collaboration with other government agencies and businesses. She also oversees the formulation and implementation of the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), a national industry roadmap that emphasizes the importance of innovation.
In her presentation, she discussed the i3S strategy and inclusive innovation, as well as policy directions for creating a competitive EV industry in the Philippines. According to the Undersecretary, this strategy comprises five pillars: new industries, human resource development, micro, small, and medium enterprise development, innovation and entrepreneurship, and ease of doing business. She noted that the manufacturing and assembly of electric motor components like batteries are one of the 12 priority markets for development. She also emphasized the importance of encouraging EV adoption in the Philippines to cut emissions and promote sustainable mobility.
“Our policy is to embrace the new technology arising from Industry 4.0… We need to adapt and adopt these new technologies to improve our competitiveness to prepare for the stiff competition that our industries face,” she emphasized. For this to happen, Undersecretary Aldaba underscored, “Inclusive innovation must be at the front and center of our industrial policies.”
She furthered that this calls for a “comprehensive and holistic government approach” to policies and regulations governing the conduct of businesses, particularly, the ease of doing business, research and development, and innovation incentives; and a strong government-academe-industry collaboration with “focus on human resource development. We need to e-skill and upskill our workforce….to prepare for future production.”
After the keynote presentation, SPMJ and AVID members engaged Undersecretary Aldaba in a lively open forum, covering topics from battery tariffs to fast-tracking electronics manufacturing in the Philippines.
The first forum held last May featured experts from the academe and the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP) discussing the future of the electric vehicle industry in the country.
Agudo hoped that AVID’s fora would strengthen the partnership between industry, government, and the media. “Events like this are crucial to getting different sectors on the same page about auto policy. This won’t be the last time that AVID teams up with government and the press to communicate important issues,” the AVID president concluded.
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