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PNoy signs order to encourage use of Batangas, Subic ports

President Benigno Aquino III has signed an order to encourage the use of the Batangas port and the Subic Bay Freeport in case of congestion at the Port of Manila.
In Executive Order 172 signed last Friday, Aquino declared the Batangas and Subic ports as official extensions of the Port of Manila during congestion and other emergency cases, such as strikes, lock-outs and natural calamities.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Undersecretary Abigail Valte said the government wants to incentivize brokers and importers who will use these two piers near Metro Manila whenever the Manila port gets congested.
"Mas mababa na ‘yung fee kaysa sa Port of Manila, but considered completed ‘yung contract ‘nung shipper," Valte told reporters at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
She added that the executive order was signed to give the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority the power to designate alternate piers for shipments to the decongested Manila port.
"Now, we can actually direct them. Kasi ‘yung dati talagang nadadaan natin ‘yan sa pakiusap, sa pakiki-coordinate sa kanila. Now, may incentive na sila further," the Palace official said.
Under Aquino's order, foreign vessels with the Port of Manila as their destination or origin may be directed to Batangas or Subic. Even if these vessels use these alternate ports, the Port of Manila will still be considered their berthing point.
The directive also states that berthing and other port fees in Subic and Batangas, which are relatively lower compared to those in the Port of Manila, will be enforced on foreign vessels if they get directed to these alternate destinations.
The executive order also empowers the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary, upon recommendation of the PPA board of directors, to declare the existence of congestion or an emergency case in the Port of Manila.
The government has earlier undertaken other measures to address the current congestion at the Port of Manila, including the shipping out and the imposition of fines on overstaying cargoes
To further address port congestion, a Cabinet cluster has also passed a resolution allowing some truckers to have all-day access to Manila ports
Up to P70 billion in economic losses has been incurred by the government due to the port congestion, according to National Economic and Development Authority. —KG, GMA News