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April 25, 2020

DTI to Auto Dealers in ECQ Areas: Sorry, You're Not Allowed to Re-Open

Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has formally responded to the request by the Philippine Automotive Dealers Association (PADA). Unfortunately for PADA, the DTI is not allowing them to re-open.

Citing the conditions and directives set by the Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Secretary Lopez says that the automotive sector is not included in the list of essential products and its “related value chain.” With that in mind, the DTI is therefore not allowing dealerships and service centers to re-open in areas covered by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (check the full response below).

That being said, under the new guidelines set by President Duterte, areas covered by the General Community Quarantine will be allowed to re-open for as long as they can observe minimum health guidelines such as social distancing by May 1. This includes repair services including the automotive sector.

DTI Response to PADA:
“In response to the concerns raised by the Philippine Automotive Dealers Association (PADA) with regard to the measures being implemented for the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, we would like to clarify that the directives of the Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Memorandum Circular (MC) 20-08 pertain to the permitted manufacturing of basic food and essential products and its related value chain. 
Unfortunately, the list does not include the automotive sector. This is mainly due to the urgent need to limit the movement of people to stop the spread of COVID-19, which is the essence of having the ECQ. Thus, if ever there would be exemptions, it must be limited to these very essential products that the people cannot live without.
We thank you for your understanding, recognizing also that hopefully, the end of the ECQ is just a few days away. [Note: After this letter was published, Malacanang moved to extend ECQ was extended to May 15]
The national government is doing everything it can to facilitate the most reasonable arrangements to fulfill the smooth delivery of basic essential goods and services to the people even as we adhere to the ECQ. We look forward to your continued cooperation and urge for even greater collaboration as we ensure the health and safety of our countrymen.”

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