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PPA board to review anew container policy in ports

The Philippine Port Authority’s (PPA) board members have yet to see clear benefits from its new order seeking to implement an additional container monitoring system.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said this as he told the Senate public services committee that they will conduct another round of review of PPA’s Administrative Order No. 04-2021, whose implementation is currently suspended.

The order in question aims to prescribe the policy for the registration and monitoring of containers entering and leaving PPA ports, including the scheduling, loading, unloading, release and movement of all containers.

“The implementation was deferred as early as January.  The board decided to defer it as we listen to the stakeholders. There [was] already a meeting among the inter-agency, who are members of the board and some other government agencies. In the meeting, we are not very clear on what will be the benefits, that’s why the board decided to defer it,” Bautista said.

“Maraming government agencies who are not supporting it. [Bureau of Customs], for one, said it’s not important because they are already doing the same. ‘Yung iba pong government agencies--for example ang DTI, ang NEDA-- they are not in full support,” he added.

Bautista said the PPA wanted to approve the implementing guidelines of the order but the members of the board wanted to make sure that it will be beneficial.

Apart from the reservations from government agencies, the Transportation secretary also mentioned opposition from the stakeholders and the ambassadors from the European Union.

Asked if the deadline for the AO’s implementation is still open-ended considering the opposition from various stakeholders, Bautista answered in the affirmative.

“Opo, that’s what we will do. ‘Yan din po ang position ng karamihan ng mga board members ng PPA,” he said.

“Ang sabi nga ng mga members of the board, before we do that, let’s be sure na talagang we like it. That’s why we will again discuss among ourselves po sa board kung we have to implement it right now,” he added.

Several business groups had earlier called on the PPA to stop the implementation of the AO including the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCI), the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT), the Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines (SCMAP), the Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc. (PAMPI), Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, Inc. (PMTLAI), and the Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (ACTOO),  saying the issuance of the order was allegedly anomalous and will worsen the country’s inflation.

They added that their estimates suggested that the direct financial cost alone from the additional insurance fees, transaction fees, and trucking fees required by Trusted Operator Program- Container Registry and Monitoring System would result in an almost 50% increase in the cost of importing goods.

Under the PPA order, the agency would prescribe and adopt a system for the registration and monitoring of containers. All inbound containers would be enrolled in the PPA system.—LDF, GMA Integrated News