By Catherine Talavera, August 22, 2023; The Philippine Star

Manila, Philippines — The government is considering the inclusion of two-wheeled and three-wheeled electric vehicles in the executive order that enforces zero tariffs on EVs.

An official from the Department of Energy (DOE) said that a recommendation for this action has been submitted to the Tariff Commission (TC).

In an interview with reporters, DOE energy utilization management bureau director Patrick Aquino said they have formalized their recommendation to the TC to suspend tariffs on two-wheel and three-wheel EVs for the same period under EO 12, which spans five years.

“We have formalized (the recommendation) so we’re just waiting for the public consultation process of the Tariff Commission,” Aquino said.

“We’re confident that the tariff commission will follow the same trajectory and listen to the recommendation because it’s not just the DOE that is pushing for it. The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) have also thrown their support,” he said.

Aquino is optimistic that the process for the public consultation will start soon.

“So we can expect the possible expansion to happen around the same time of the issuance of the current executive order (EO). But the time frame will still be tied to the existing one,” he said.

Aquino, however, noted that the issuance of an EO to implement the recommendation, if approved, is time-bound.

“When we say time-bound, the President can only exercise that power when Congress is not in session,” Aquino said, noting that the earliest window for this is during the Congress recess for the barangay elections and during the Christmas break.

In May, the DTI said that the inclusion of two-wheeled vehicles such as motorcycles under the executive order imposing zero tariffs on EV would have to be reviewed a year after the EO’s implementation.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual explained that the zero tariff for EVs under EO 12 applies to four-wheeled vehicles, which is good for five years.

Under Section 2 of EO 12, the most favored nation tariff rates under the issuance are subject to review after one year from the implementation of the order.

“For this purpose, the NEDA shall submit to the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, its findings and recommendations on the matter,” the EO read.

In an earlier statement, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVaP) said that it has been pushing for all EVs to be zero tariff, including two-wheel vehicles, except for e-jeeps and e-trikes, which have local manufacturing and assembly in the country.

EVaP president Edmund Araga said this move would not only benefit consumers by making EVs more affordable, but it would also help the country achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.