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Hontiveros wants an investigation into the hefty port costs.

In support of the legislation, Senator Risa Hontiveros has submitted a resolution that aims to look into the administrative directives made by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) that are believed to have caused an “excessive” increase in port fees.

“Not only are the shipping companies suffering from these administrative orders but so are regular consumers. According to a statement released by Hontiveros on Wednesday, an increase in transportation expenses runs the risk of pushing up already high prices and inflation levels even further.

According to her, the increase in port fees will increase the burdensome pricing of inflation, which could have an impact on how importers price their goods and ultimately harm the general people.

Hontiveros mentioned administrative orders (A.O.) pertaining to the award of port terminal management contracts to bidders with the highest concession price (No. 12-2018), implementation of a “Central Ticketing System” (No. 12-2019), increase in garbage collection fees (No. 01-2020, as amended), and establishment of a mechanism for registration and monitoring of containers entering and leaving ports (No. 01-2020, as amended) in her Senate Resolution No. 484. (No. 04-2021).

The largest shipping organization in the Philippines, the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association (PCSA), claimed that the PPA rules resulted in “an increase in port taxes in the country of as much as 2,000 percent, thus raising domestic logistics expenses to the detriment of the public.”

That shouldn’t be a burden for our consumers who bear the high costs of goods and transportation, according to Hontiveros. “Hindi ito dapat hayaang pasanin ng ating mga consumers,” he said.

The resolution also expressed the concern of business and trade associations that the direct costs associated with the registration and monitoring of containers in ports, such as insurance, transaction, and transportation costs, would result in an increase in import costs of more than 50%.

In addition, it was noted in the resolution that the PCSA had already asked the Department of Transportation to review port terminal management contracts that were allegedly responsible for rate increases at significant ports in Ozamis, Ormoc, Zamboanga, Tagbilaran, Surigao, Tacloban, Legazpi, Calapan, Nasipit, and Matnog.

“Our economy depends heavily on an effective network of maritime transportation. Even the National Economic and Development Authority acknowledged that excessive transportation costs pose a risk to the advancement of the country. I implore my Senate colleagues to look into these price hikes right now, suggest that these rates are regulated, and, if necessary, adopt port reforms to solve inefficiencies.

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