Marcos: Japan’s legendary tofu truck, people-hauler will be back on PH streets
TOKYO, Japan — A legendary Japanese-made tofu truck which doubles as a public transportation mode in the Philippines will be back, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said as he received assurance from the carmaker’s executives here.
In a statement shared by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Saturday, Marcos said that Japanese car giant Toyota vowed to put back the Toyota Tamaraw FX back on the Philippine market.
Marcos said this would bode well for the country considering that the old model which rose to popularity in the early 1990s has been a workhorse — with some units still functional to date.
“Many of the Tamaraws you’ve recently built are still on the road,” Marcos told Toyota officials.
“We have always been appreciative especially in the involvement of Toyota in the Philippines over so many years and I think the mutual experience between Toyota and the Philippine and the local markets has been a good one and the partnership we can look to as a success,” he added.
According to Marcos, it is good to hear Toyota’s plans for the country as it complements his administration’s ambition for the future.
Marcos also revealed that the government is looking to possibly acquire Mini Cruisers for use military use.
“It is very interesting to hear your new plans for the Philippines and it’s very much in alignment with what we’re trying to do… we are hoping we are able to improve the situation for your supplier to be able to come in to the ease of doing business,” he added.
“It’s something we would like to revisit, simply because we have tried many utility vehicles for the military but they really [have] not been a success for us,” he added.
The Toyota Tamaraw FX is considered as the precursor of the UV Express system, a mass transport scheme which makes use of vehicles with a capacity of more than six people, traveling from point-to-point.
Over the years, the Tamaraw was slowly replaced by longer vans which could accommodate more passengers, but several Tamaraw units can still be seen on Philippine roads doing heavy-duty tasks.
Aside from bringing back the Tamaraw, Marcos said that the administration is also looking at extending the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, where incentives are offered to companies willing to assemble cars in the country.
As of now, both Toyota and competitor Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation are erolled in the CARS program.
“It is something that would be important to the Philippines because we are trying to encourage now… both for local businesses and businesses from other countries and businesses from Japan… we are trying to encourage this capital investment to improve the share of manufacturing contribution to the GDP (gross domestic product),” he said.
“Right now, services is a large majority of the contribution to GDP, which is alright, and we want to keep that going. But we want to balance the contribution from different sectors of the economy,” he added.
The discussion with the automotive industry is one of the several sectors that Marcos and his delegation engaged with. Since Wednesday, the President has been talking to stakeholders from the tourism, energy, semiconductor and electronics, and real estate sectors, in hopes of bagging investment pledges to the Philippines.
As of now, no exact figure on the investment pledges has been released, but the PCO said it could amount to billions.
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