Duterte hails locally-made Mirage as major step towards making PHL regional car manufacturing hub

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday hailed the rolling off of the first of the Mirage cars from Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) that is locally manufactured under the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program as a major step towards making the Philippines a more attractive location for vehicle manufacturing.

In his speech during the launching ceremony of the Philippine-manufactured Mirage G4, the President said that the event marked another milestone in the Philippines’ car industry.

“Today, fresh from their plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, we’re witnessing the rolling off of the first of the 200,000 Mirage cars from MMPC that will be locally manufactured under the CARS Program. Proudly, we can now say that the Mitsubishi Mirage, currently the second top-selling passenger car in the country, is made in the Philippines,” Duterte said.

The Mirage G4 is the first model to start production under the CARS program.

The President said the CARS Program demonstrates the government’s commitment to pursue initiatives that will create more jobs for the Filipino people and help achieve sustained prosperity in the country.

“This complements our government’s Zero Plus Ten-Point Socio-Economic Agenda, which aims to improve all sectors towards efficiency and development,” he said.

The President noted that the production of the Mirage in the country is a testament to the kind of friendship and cooperation that Japan and the Philippines have shared and nurtured throughout the years.

The Japanese car manufacturer agreed to assemble the Mirage in the Philippines as part of a PHP1.85-billion trade package that was forged during the President’s state visit to Tokyo last year.

He thank officials of MMPC, led by Osamu Masuko, for affirming their commitment to the CARS Program as he pointed out the investment committed by Mitsubishi is expected to add around 7,900 direct employment opportunities and an estimated additional government revenue of PHP5.72 billion.

“I have always been grateful to our partners from Japan and their trust and confidence in the Filipino people. Truly, your continued investments and expansion of business in the country have contributed to the flourishing economy of the Philippines,” the President said.

“Because of this collaboration, the first unit of the ‘Made in the Philippines’ Mirage has been manufactured using materials and supplies from local parts manufacturers and other related local industries in the country,” Duterte said.

He also thanked the car giant for contributing to the country’s quest as a future regional auto manufacturing hub.

“Let us continue working together in enlivening our business environment and in making the Philippines not only a regional auto manufacturing hub, but as one of the world’s liveliest economies,” he said.

“Let the cars we manufacture be the vehicles of progress and let the excellence of hard work be the fuel that will drive us towards greater success,” Duterte said.

In the meantime, Duterte took opportunity to reassure all stakeholders from the automotive industry that the Philippine government will take due consideration of their concerns over fiscal reforms being initiated by the Duterte administration.

Besides Mitsubishi, Toyota has also committed to the CARS program.

Hyundai is currently in talks with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) about their possible participation.

“We will ensure that its impact will be fair and supportive of your growth as participants in the CARS Program,” Duterte said. PNA-northboundasia.com