Task Force to Monitor Right-Hand Drive Vehicles

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Byline: ARIS R. ILAGAN

The National Anti-Smuggling Task Force (NASTAF) is now gearing for the strict implementation of the governments ban on the importation of right hand drive vehicles for auction including those that are being considered for conversion to left hand drive units based on safety and environmental concerns.

Also, the NASTAF is studying counter measures in stopping the importation of second hand vehicles that were mostly declared "junk units" in the country of origin since majority of them were undervalued by importers to evade taxation.

According to Lt. Col. Danilo Servando, NASTAF spokesman, NASTAF chief Angelo T. Reyes has been receiving inputs from different sectors that focus on the importation of second hand vehicles, among them the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) since President Arroyo ordered an all out drive against smuggling activities.

In a letter to Reyes, CAMPI President Jose C. Alvarez highlighted social, environmental and safety aspects of using imported second hand vehicles on Philippine roads.

"The safety of roadworthiness of those right-hand drive vehicles converted to left hand drive cannot be assured due to lack of proper certification on their compliance with safety regulations and standards," Alvarez said.

"Conspicuous violations of safety standards have been noted of these vehicles such as on the manner of conversion (cut and weld), wiper orientation, headlamp beam pattern, door position and rear/side view mirror adjustment," he added.

On environmental concerns, CAMPI officials said that importers of second hand vehicles also failed to obtain Certificate of Compliance to Emission Standards (CCES) from the country of origin that should have been submitted to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) for the issuance of its own CCES.

Importers of second hand vehicles have also been accused of depriving the government of billions of pesos worth of revenues since undervaluation of the imported units has been a common practice in the auction cars industry. …