THE Used Trucks Rebuilders and Importers Association of the Philippines (UTRIP) showcased more than 30 rebuilt trucks at the Metrotent in Metrowalk, Pasig City Today and Tomorrow. May 17 to 18. Some of the trucks that were showcased included G-Technica, GLC, Solid Machineries, Pioneer Trucks, Megaton, Mana Diesel, Firewolf and Max Edge Industrial Corp. to name a few.
UTRIP is an association of 25 companies that operate used truck rebuilding centers within Metro Manila. It is under the umbrella of the Confederation of Truck Rebuilders and Importers Association of the Philippines (CTRIP), which is composed of close to 300 truck rebuilders nationwide including UTRIP, which employs about 50,000 highly-skilled production line workers.
The truck rebuilding industry was conceptualized by the government in 2003 through Department Order No. 08-03, which was issued by the Bureau of Import Services of the Department of Trade and Industry.
UTRIP fears that the operations of their members in rebuilding used trucks may have only up to June 30, 2019 to conduct their business given new imposition by the government that are in virtually impossible to be compliant with.
UTRIP president Jaime Vicente said, “It is the kind of industry where we were vigorously encouraged to invest into by the Government shortly after its introduction 17 years ago, and for which our pioneering members obliged in the advent of the implementation of Executive Order No. 156, better known as the “Comprehensive Industrial Policy and Directions for the Motor Vehicle Development Program” issued in the year 2002.”
Over those years, UTRIP has played a vital and principal role in transforming the truck rebuilding industry from a collection of small scale backyard operations to a full blown 100-percent Filipino-owned and controlled sector within the automotive industry in the country, which has generated multi-billion pesos in investments, provided employment for tens of thousands of direct-hire workers who, in turn, have acquired and spread technical skills related to automotive production, assembly, maintenance and trouble shooting.
“Used trucks rebuilding industry is an offspring conceptualize by the government itself in 2003, nourished and reared within the parameters set forth by a program it conceived and propagated. We have since not sought nor given incentives other than what was originally offered to us,” said Vicente.
UTRIP thrived and silently grew to what it is now—a major industry—without any fanfare and it has become a major player and partner of the Government in the larger arena of nation building.
In July 2018, DTI-FTEB required the submission of Emission Test Results of rebuilt/imported used trucks from the countries of their origin that they have passed the Euro 4 Standard before a Certificate of Authority to Import (CAI) covering an imported used truck can be issued.
In response to the new requirement, a series of dialogues were held between CTRIP and BOI/DTI-FTEB and it was determined that obtaining Emission Test from their country of origin especially those in Completely-Knocked-Down form, is an extremely difficult, if not impossible undertaking. In lieu of it, DTI-FTEB said that the only alternative is to accept an Emission Test conducted by a domestic testing center duly accredited by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
This alternative, however, can only be availed of by truck rebuilders operating inside Freeport zones since their Completely-Knocked-Down (CKD) trucks can be unloaded therein even without a Certificate of Authority to Import (CAI) because a Freeport Zone is still considered as foreign territory.
This is because truck rebuilders operating outside of Freeport Zones, as do our members, cannot avail of the services of domestic testing center because, in accordance to Bureau of Customs Regulations, imported used CKD trucks that do not have CAIs upon discharge from a carrying vessel are subject to immediate seizure.
“The requisite submission of emission test results before the issuance of CAIs puts the rebuilding program of the Government in a curious quandary: If rebuilders are required to import only CKD trucks that have passed Government standards, then what is there for us to rebuild?” asked Vicente. “Isn’t this imposition utterly inconsistent with the very provision of Section 2a of DAO 08-03, which capsulizes the program in this manner to read, “To assure the public that all rebuilt trucks are safe and roadworthy and meet the standards of exhaust emission” and Section 2b “to develop technical and management expertise in truck rebuilding to pave the way for rebuilding programs covering other types of vehicles?” he inquired.
Members of UTRIP would like to reiterate that they are responsible and safety-conscious used truck rebuilders. As such, they import CKD trucks from Japan, Europe and the US, and transform them into Completely-Built-Units (CBUs). In the process, truck parts and components that required replacing in the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, as well as electrically-controlled components such as headlights, signal lights, tail lights, wipers, horns, GPS, and are replaced with new parts and components. Tires are also replaced with new once whenever necessary. The resultant vehicle would then approximate the condition of a brand new unit.
It is UTRIP’s hope that the Government will consider bestowing upon rebuilt trucks their own classification which is distinct from either a brand new or used units, and that it would give this due consideration in every policy decision made in the future. We also request that, until such time that a judicious resolution of this matter is reached, the DTI-FTEB resume the issuance of CAIs applied for by duly accredited rebuilders, regardless of whether their rebuilding sites are inside or outside of Freeport Zones.