Keynote Address of Secretary Ramon M. Lopez
All-New Vios Ceremonial Roll-off (Under CARS Program)
July 19, 2018, Sta. Rosa Laguna


Konichiwa. Ohaiyo Gozaimasu.

Makino-san; Moriyama-san; Mr. Rafael Villareal; our very good partner, the Congresswoman from the automotive capital of the Philippines, Madam Arlene Arcillas; Mayor Danilo Ramon Fernandez; the Vice Mayor as well; an icon in the automotive industry, Governor Alvarez; Honorable Constancia Gomez; the TMP (Toyota Motors Philippines) President, Suzuki-san; and of course, a very good friend, the Vice Chairman Mr. Alfred Ty.

Again, good morning everyone. Sa mga kasama natin dito sa TMP, magandang umaga sa ating lahat. Thank and congratulations to Toyota Motors.


Thank you, Toyota Motors, for inviting me today for the ceremonial roll-out of your Vios FMC. As we celebrate the launch of your Vios, I would also like to offer congratulations in advance for your upcoming 30th anniversary.

Today’s roll-out of the Vios FMC serves as a major milestone in the ongoing collaboration between the government and Toyota. This is because the Vios FMC is the enrolled model in the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program, and marks Toyota’s commitment as Participating Car Maker (PCM) in the program.

I’d like to acknowledge the presence of the guys behind the CARS Program, Governor Henry of BOI, Mr. Mulong, and Ms. Concepcion. Please stand to be recognized, so they know who to approach when they’re ready to collect.

With the roll-out of the Vios, we will not only help jumpstart the local automotive industry but also generate more jobs and income opportunities for our countrymen.

[Implementing CARS]

The Duterte administration is committed in its support to revitalize the Philippine automotive industry. In this regard, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) instituted the CARS program to create more jobs, more income opportunities, and really create a more vibrant SME (Small and Medium Enterpise) community through the localization agenda which is part of the CARS program.

The overall goal of this program is to make the Philippines into a regional automotive manufacturing hub. We can do this by helping the local automotive industry level up against CBUs (or Complete Built Up units) being imported into the country. Currently, the target of the CARS Program is to achieve a 50% localization based on Bill of Materials (BOM) of program-enrolled models.

That level is the minimum. We hope that you can achieve more than 50% localization. Greater localization creates greater opportunities for SME suppliers in the country and it will create more jobs. As you know, our passion in the DTI is really to create higher value adding SMEs in the country.

This program will also augment and enhance policy directions of existing motor vehicle programs to ensure greater innovation, technology transfer, environmental protection, and the development of SMEs. These directions are aligned as well with our goal to grow and develop globally competitive and innovative industries under DTI’s Inclusive, Innovation-led, Industrial Strategy (i³s).

In fact, in Sta. Rosa, Congresswoman, Mayor, we have identified this area as an Inclusive Innovation Hub. That means we will be linking the industry with the academe so that there will be greater interaction between the needs of the industries and allow them to gain access of the research and development facilities of the academe.

In doing that, we are in effect, enhancing the relevance of the research being done in the universities; making sure that their research works will be solutions to industry problems and not just research for research purposes.

[Rebuilding Industries]

The CARS Program is at the heart of our Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP). We’re really happy to note that manufacturing has picked up, thanks to you, our partners in the manufacturing sector.

This sector has been leading the way in economic growth, GDP development of 6.8% in the first quarter of this year and 6.7% in the last year. The manufacturing industry grew more than that with an 8% growth, last year and the first quarter of this year. That 8% came from 3-4% in the previous years. That’s the kind of economic growth that we’d like to have, because it’s through manufacturing that we can create more jobs, more decent jobs.

This MRP is really a priority of the Duterte administration. Our President has a soft heart for the ordinary Filipinos. He simply wants the Filipinos lives to be comfortable, to uplift the quality of their lives, making sure that they have jobs, business, and kabuhayan.

That’s why in DTI, we have a straight forward program called TNK—Trabaho (Jobs), Negosyo (Businesses), Kabuhayan (Livelihood). We added another K—Konsyumer (Consumer) to make sure that our products are standard-compliant and prices are very reasonable. So we make sure also that our car prices are very reasonable.

With the support of the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), the MRP will close the gaps in industry supply chains, provide access to raw materials, and expand domestic markets and exports for local manufactured products.

The goal of MRP is to enhance the competitiveness of domestic manufacturing industries. When we say enhancing competitiveness, we want to make sure that the raw materials have lower tariff rates than the finished products. That is one assurance that we would like to bring forward.

These industries can then be integrated in higher value-added, ASEAN-based production networks, and global value chains. The program will help us contribute 30% of total value-added and 15% of total employment by 2030. I’m happy to learn that the employment is close to 3,000 people. Palakpakan natin ang Toyota Motor Philippines. Of course if you ask us, we want to see it at the 10,000 level. Para yung mga kaibigan nila, magkaka-trabaho pa dito sa Toyota. In English, so that their friends can also work here in Toyota.

I’d like to reiterate that the government is focusing on Manufacturing to generate jobs not only for skilled workers but also for semi- and low-skilled workers. The target in localization will definitely help with that by promoting SMEs. This program will allow the movement of our workers from the informal to the formal sector, as well as from low value-added activities to high-value added activities.

I understand that the automotive industries are facing challenges. Of course I’m only referring the first six months of this year. For those who were trying to catch up with the tax reform program, more people were buying cars, especially the Fortuners. The Philippines is the largest market for SUVs in the region. The Philippines is also the largest market for Fortuners.

We are facing challenges this year, but definitely, the macroeconomic levels, 106 million Filipinos with an average age of 23 years, lower unemployment rate of 5.5% coming from 6.6%, definitely it spells more sustainable growth in the future. Young Filipinos with higher income, growing middle class can only mean one thing: more car sales in the future. After more spending on eating out, as the economy grows, the next thing is buying cars, the next thing is buying houses.

With such great demographics, we will have a very good run of car sales in the Philippines in the medium-term and in the long-term. It is also projected that our country will have one of the biggest economies—top 20—in less than 20 years.

Our credit rating has even improved. Our credit rating is very important, it tells the interest attached to any loan, not only government loans but even corporate loans. Our rating has improved from stable to positive.

[Gov’t Commitment to the Auto Industry]

We are currently implementing an ongoing review to make the Motor Vehicle Development Program (MVDP) more relevant in today’s regional and local market environment—and the program’s incentives more appropriate. We also want to point out that the MVDP 2.0 will incentivize scale in local production based on a technology roadmap that is being developed.

We also hope that the government’s ongoing initiatives will translate to the lateral production of Toyota’s already-dominant models currently imported as CBU.

Of course, we would like to encourage Toyota to be part of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program. We would welcome a different platform, chassis, engine size, and configuration, that is compliant to the PUV modernization program.


Two years down the road, we are now seeing the fruits of all our efforts with the Toyota Vios as one of the first Philippine-made cars to be built under the CARS program.

I am hopeful that with this roll-out, we can envision a future in which our countrymen can enjoy a stable income, secure employment, and a better quality of life thanks to a booming domestic automotive industry.

This is in line with our President’s 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda, where he promised a government that would widen the gains of economic development, to address inequality, and to uplift the quality of life of our countrymen.

That’s why I want to express our appreciation to Toyota for their continued confidence to invest in our country, which serves as testament to the Philippines as a preferred global investment destination. We also value your continued support in helping the government develop the Philippine automotive industry into becoming a regional hub. In fact, my request is to make the Philippines the manufacturing hub of your Vios, not only in the country, but worldwide.

Thank you and mabuhay kayong lahat.