Vintage vehicle owners rejoice

Photographs by Analy Labor for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_ana ONE of the headturners at Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City is a Porsche Carrera GT.

As a personal owner of a 55-year-old car that is perpetually in some state of repair or restoration, it’s admittedly becoming more difficult to maintain and keep my dear old lady (or should I say mistress) on the road. What with hybrids, electric vehicles, and all the modern technologies crammed into affordable and more practical vehicles these days, does owning an old car really even make sense?

Of course, it does, silly. There are so many other factors aside from convenience and practicality that make the ownership of an old automobile enjoyable and fulfilling. As with most people enamored with the past, aging vehicles bring about an experience unlike any other. What used to be considered modern in its day can these days turn a boring drive into an encounter that is anything but.

For us vintage vehicle owners here in the Philippines, there may be many obstacles to fully enjoying the ownership of an old car, but now respite comes in the form of Republic Act 11698.

AMONG those seen at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City are a Porsche, Miata and a Cobra.

Also known as the Vintage Vehicle Regulatory Act, the new law acknowledges vintage cars as an “integral part of Philippine culture, embedded in its history and chronicles of government, transportation, industry, social life and popular culture.”

The law permits the registration and operation of antique vehicles that are already 40 years old from the date of their initial production. Part of this law categorizes these vehicles as resto-mods (restored but with modern concessions), Concours (for exhibition/display/contest), right-hand drive vehicles, and historic vehicles (such as Presidential cars).

The new RA will regulate the use and other activities related to vintage automobiles and other historical, classical, or collector vehicles. It provides for their exemption from standards and restrictions set by laws and regulations issued after the date of their manufacture.

This act is a significant step towards preserving the rich automotive history of the Philippines. It acknowledges the importance of vintage automobiles in representing the country’s cultural heritage and provides a framework for their protection and preservation.

BMW Isetta, the smallest car in the parking lot.

Since it enables them to legally register and operate their vintage automobiles, this act will be beneficial to car collectors. Because of this, they now have more chances to present their favorite goods at exhibitions, competitions, and other occasions.

Last Sunday at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, Land Transportation Office Assistant Secretary Jose Arturo Tugade led the ceremonies for the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11698 which officially takes effect on 17 April.

The event was also graced by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senator Francis Tolentino, Northern Samar 1st District Representative Paul Daza, National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairman Dr. Emmanuel Calairo, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Deputy Director General Aniceto Bertiz III, Bureau of Customs Deputy Commissioner, Assessment and Operations Group Vener Baquiran, and various vintage car club heads and their members.

To be sure, this law has its critics, just like every other piece of legislation.

According to others, the exemption of older vehicles from current emissions regulations may increase pollution. Some people are concerned that as more cars are permitted on the road, traffic congestion may worsen.

Despite these reservations, a lot of people consider this act to be a step in the right direction toward protecting Philippine history and culture. It provides a legal framework for protecting vintage automobiles while also allowing car enthusiasts to enjoy their passion legally.

Many progressive countries have implemented laws that benefit vintage vehicle owners to support the preservation and enjoyment of said vehicles. Examples of this would be France’s, “Carte Grise de Collection” wherein owners can apply for a special license plate and registration called “Carte Grise de Collection,” which provides a lower tax rate and exemptions from certain regulations such as emissions testing. Germany has the “H” License Plate where German vintage car owners can apply for an “H” license plate, which identifies the vehicle as a historic car and provides exemptions from certain regulations such as emissions testing and road tax.

Republic Act 11698 represents a significant step towards preserving Philippine automotive history while also providing benefits for car collectors. While there may be some concerns about its impact on pollution and traffic congestion, many see it as a positive development overall.

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