Christmas Motoring Wishlist for 2018
With 2017 coming to a close, we’ve experienced a whole lot of carmageddon-levels of traffic. The revised excise tax rates which form part of the TRAIN Law has also been signed into law which will affect the car-buying public, and shockingly gruesome accidents have gone viral on social media. These are the main topics which dominated motoring news in 2017. Looking forward to 2018, we remain hopeful for positive changes. Thus, we’ve complied a wish list for good things to come in 2018.
The TRAIN Law will truly bring positive change and allow the Filipino to move forward – the TRAIN Law affects everyone.
Lower taxes for certain things (particularly income tax and estate tax), and higher taxes for other things, namely motor vehicles, petroleum / fuel products and basic commodities like sugar. It’s still too early to predict and say what the actual, final retail price will be as manufacturers and importers scramble to revise prices based on the new laws. This law will particularly affect over 80% of vehicles which fall under the Php3 Million and below segment. But the Filipino has always been resilient and adaptable to change, and we hope this won’t be a huge stumbling block to the economy. And we all hope the added tax revenue won’t end up in the personal pockets of a few, but rather in the Nation’s coffers which will allow Government to truly improve our lives, our country.
More infrastructure projects
The government’s BUILD BUILD BUILD program has shown how the country is far behind in terms of infrastructure development, and how we can catch-up building and developing these if there is enough political will and cooperation from all sectors of our society. More public infrastructure hastens development and improvement in its area, improves real-estate values, eases logistical difficulties and ultimately improves the lives of everyone. 2018 sees some ambitious projects, namely the Japan-funded subway system which should help ease the EDSA-MRT III’s outdated and antiquated facilities, as well as reduce traffic on EDSA with less PUV’s hopefully plying the country’s busiest thoroughfare once this is done. But infrastructure development should not be limited to the country’s capital. Thanks to our President hailing from Mindanao, development across the country has been better balanced with many landmark projects being started and finished in the Visayas and Mindanao islands. This will encourage growth outside of over-crowded Metro Manila, decongest the capital and attract investments in the province.
In 2017, we’ve seen many gruesome motoring related accidents, thanks to more CCTV’s being deployed throughout the country, particularly on major intersections and thoroughfares. Maybe these accidents have already been happening on a regular basis in the past. Regardless of this, we need stricter motoring and safety related laws to prevent these gruesome accidents. Stricter licensing regulations for new motorists, proper road-worthiness laws for motor vehicles, especially old vehicles over 10 years of age, and better lighting to allow motorists to see better on the road, better drainage to evacuate standing water on the roads which can cause hydro-planing and accidents, and properly built and designed pedestrian over / underpasses, with island dividers tall enough (10-feet or more) to prevent jaywalkers from scrambling across the roads, risking themselves and the safety of motorists. We also hope the LGU will deploy more well-trained and properly equipped traffic wardens and local traffic police to help control and regulate traffic, which should also improve safety for everyone with more police presence on the road.
A lifetime ago, the Filipinos had very few selection of cars if they were lucky enough to be able to afford one. Today’ we are spoilt for choice thanks to the massive array of manufacturers present, and their respective models. But we need better cars. Cars with a higher level of specification and equipment, particularly safety equipment (airbags, ABS-EBD brakes, traction / stability control, active safety systems, blind-spot cameras and monitors, reverse-cameras, high-tech alarm / immobilizer against theft). And we also need much more fuel efficient cars, cars that are far more versatile to meet the demands of a growing Filipino family, and also, more environmentally friendly cars. Clean diesels, hybrids, START-STOP equipped vehicles, we need them more so now if we want to preserve the environment for the next generation.
More stable financial sector
Part of what really helped get our economy in warp-speed the past few years was a stable financial sector. The foreign exchange has been very stable, even with a steady climb (no fault of ours, but that of a strengthening US economy), with interest rates that were essentially half of what they were two decades ago. If the US Dollar to Philippine Peso forex rate avoids massive plays and swings, and the interest rates remain at the current levels (+/- 4.5%) for car loans at least), the market will continue to grow, evolve and find resilience to any sudden changes. And this will keep cars more affordable, as well as fuel prices which can keep us all merrily motoring away.
Ah yes, perhaps the single most impossible, yet most ardent desire of every motorist on the road. Hopefully, with more and better infrastructure and a decentralization of the Capital and focusing on development outside and into the neighboring provinces, we will experience less and less traffic. It won’t be quick and instant, but fingers crossed, we will get there. But as they always say, it will get worse (due to all the landmark infra projects we will see in 2018) before it gets better.