ARTA on PPA monitoring system: No sound legal, empirical basis

By Kris Crismundo

July 29, 2023, 6:21 pm

<p>Manila International Container Terminal <em>(Contributed photo)</em></p>

Manila International Container Terminal (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has issued a re-evaluation report on the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Administrative Order No. 04-2021, or the Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry and Monitoring System (TOP-CRMS), prescribing the policy on registration and monitoring of containers to avoid port congestion.

In its letter to PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago dated July 25, 2023, ARTA said there is “no sound legal and empirical basis to establish the need for the new regulation and to intervene in instances where evidence identifies an issue or a need for intervention following the Principle 2 of the Philippine Good Regulatory Principle.”

ARTA added that the PPA has admitted that there is no congestion inside its regulated ports.

“A key concern for re-evaluation was the PPA's statement during a June 2023 consultation meeting, stating that there is currently no port congestion. This contradicts the system's intended purpose, as stated in the submitted RIS (Regulatory Impact Statement),” the agency said in a statement Saturday.

The report also affirmed the sentiments of several groups in the logistics sector that the TOP-CRMS will result in more expenses for businesses in importation and transport.

“The fees associated with the implementation of the TOP-CRMS will entail additional costs to stakeholders, particularly in relation to the utilization of PPA-authorized Container Staging Facility outside the ports,” read ARTA’s letter to PPA.

In January this year, stakeholders in the logistics sector warned that the PPA order will further contribute to inflationary pressure due to additional expenses for importers and truckers, such as PHP980 container deposit insurance and another PHP3,408 for monitoring fee.

The stakeholders also claimed that the TOP-CRMS/Empty Container Storage Shared Service Facility could lead to an additional PHP35 billion annually to import cost.

"Our re-evaluation was diligent, and it stands as our final recommendation unless either party provides relevant additional documents,” ARTA director general Ernesto Perez said.

ARTA clarified that the implementation of the TOP-CRMS is still at the discretion of the PPA general manager and its Board. (PNA)