Ford has announced that it will be shutting down its Santa Rosa assembly plant in the Phillipines by the end of 2012. The closure of the facility, located south of Manila, is part of the company’s move to streamline its ASEAN manufacturing operations, according to reports.

It also brings to an end the second era of the Blue Oval’s production involvement in the republic – the US automaker had returned to the Philippines in 1998 after having shuttered its operations there in the 1980s. It began exporting CBU vehicles in September 2002, and to date, has delivered 80,000 vehicles to regional markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Santa Rosa plant currently has 360 staff and has a production capacity of 36,000 vehicles annually. It assembles the outgoing generation Escape SUV, and had up until recently also assembled the second-generation C307 Focus for the region. The last Escape will roll out of the plant later this year, and when it does the curtains will fall on the facility.

Regional production will thus be concentrated in Thailand – the Fiesta and new T6 Ranger are already being built there, and the third-generation C346 Focus is next to join the lineup. The company’s new Rayong plant is also set to build the EcoSport compact SUV, which is the next model due out after the Focus.