Exporters have strongly urged the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to reconsider its decision to implement the “no permit, no service” policy for all truckers in ports nationwide.
Sergio Ortiz Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport) raised this during the PHILEXPORT General Membership Meeting and Christmas Party. Ortiz-Luis
blamed the PPA policy in the recent port disruption as a result of the truck holiday staged by various truckers groups in protest of the agency’s decision to strictly impose “no permit, no service” policy. The PPA also issued a stern warning against colorum truck operators.
“We regret that the Philippine Ports Authority took a defiant stand against the flexibilities requested by the truckers. We seriously hope that the PPA will re-consider,” said Ortiz-Luis. He warned that the truck holiday, which lasted for two days only after the intervention by the Anti Red Tape Authority, threatened to fuel another port congestion on top of the problem of shortage in vessel space that is seen to persist until 2023.
The “No Permit, No Service” Policy is in line with PPA Memorandum Circular (MC) 19-2021, which requires truckers to obtain a Certificate of Accreditation (CA) and Permit to Operate (PTO), otherwise are not allowed to transact at port terminals. However, some truckers still refuse to secure the CA and PTO.
Truckers have asked for a moratorium of the MC 19-2021 to give them more time to comply, but PPA did not budge stressing it is not a new requirement and that
truckers were long advised of the policy. Port operators Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) at South Harbor, and ICTSI’s Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) also implemented the PPA order as scheduled.
The agency has imposed the first deadline to secure CA and PTO on 15 October 2021, and it was extended on 31 October 2021, only requiring the truckers to merely file an accomplished application form and submit all pertinent documents by 31 December 2021. A trucker applying for a three (3)-year PTO will be given a 50 percent discount on the permit fees.
However, it was learned that several truckers still refuse to comply or get operating permits from PPA for still unknown reasons. The PPA said all other service providers in the ports are required to get permits. As of end of the October 31 deadline, 75 percent of truckers operating in the Port of Manila have already complied with the CA and PTO requirements.
The PPA has likewise issued a stern warning against colorum truckers who do not follow the schedules and rules at the terminals that they will be slapped with hefty fines and appropriate sanctions.
Ortiz-Luis raised the truckers’ concern amid the big wins seen in the country’s exports performance amid the pandemic.
“Considering major outstanding issues, the export industry likewise made a remarkable comeback,” he said. Exports climbed from a 50 percent plunge in April 2020 to an 18 percent year-on-year increase up to September this year. This marked the seventh consecutive month of improved performance which is expected to further grow as economies open worldwide. Electronics will continue to account as the biggest dollar earner with exports accounting for 57.1 percent within this period.
In fact, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI), has hiked its growth forecast for the country’s electronics exports this year to 10 percent amid strong demand, with industrial, medical, automotive, and telecom electronics products as growth drivers. Other export performers during this period were mineral products and other manufactured goods.
By major trading partner, exports to the United States comprised the highest value amounting to $1.17 billion or a share of 17.5 percent to the total exports during the month. Completing the top five major export trading partners with their export values and percent shares to the total exports were People’s Republic of China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. However, we have become cautiously optimistic on China which third quarter growth has slowed down than expected.
The improving performance has influenced the projection of investment banking giant Goldman Sachs which sees the Philippine economy growing the fastest in ASEAN-5 next year, despite some political uncertainties because of the 2022 elections. The Philippines’ estimated GDP expansion in 2022 would exceed Malaysia’s 6.6 percent, Indonesia’s 5.1 percent, Singapore’s 4.3 percent, and Thailand’s 3.6 percent.