In the know: How the Philippines became a left-hand-drive country

Visayas Avenue in Quezon CIty

Once upon a time, Filipinos used to drive cars with steering wheels on the right-hand side of the vehicle. That’s right, just like most European countries, we Pinoys used to drive right-hand-drive vehicles.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How did the Philippines become a right-hand-drive country?

    President Sergio Osmeña signed Executive Order No. 34 directing Filipinos to change their driving orientation.
  • What happens if you drive a right-hand-drive vehicle in the Philippines today?

    Using a right-hand-drive vehicle in the Philippines merits relevant fines and penalties.
  • If your interests lie in revisiting — and preserving — our motoring history, then this quick history lesson is for you. Today, we look back and find out how the Philippines became a left-hand drive country.

    driving car

    Early pictures show us Filipinos driving our cars on the left side of the road. Our predecessors drove right-hand-drive vehicles until then-President Sergio Osmeña signed an Executive Order that directed Filipinos to drive on the other side of the road.

    According to reports, the signing of the Executive Order No. 34 was mainly due to economic reasons. Back then the government deemed it was better for the country’s economy to change the orientation of how we drive to facilitate the import of US-sourced motor vehicles and ultimately make them cheaper..

    In addition, changing the driving orientation made it easier for the friendlies to ply Philippine roads.

    That said, slowly — but surely — Filipinos shifted and got accustomed to using right-hand-drive vehicles.

    woman driving

    Now for those who want to make right-hand drive vehicles great — or popular — again, there are laws in place that will penalize those who will be driving and importing right-hand-drive vehicles on public roads.

    Photos from ZigWheels and Ruben Manahan

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