Home » Ports/Terminals » PPA against water usage tax, calls it shippers’ burden

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) added its opposition to Manila’s proposed water usage tax, calling it a burden to shippers.

Manila vice mayor Francisco Moreno is seeking a P5,000 daily water usage tax for every domestic and international vessel that docks in Manila.

PPA general manager Atty. Juan Sta. Ana said the local government’s move will only add to shippers’ expense and increase prices of goods.

It also encroaches on the agency’s functions, he said. Under Presidential Decree No. 505 as amended by P.D. 857, PPA has the power of control, supervision and regulation over all ports in the country, whether public or private.

In addition, the PPA chief noted the measure could set a precedent, opening the floodgates to the imposition of other kinds of levies.

Sta Ana said PPA has already registered with the Manila city government its disapproval. “We’re hoping they will carefully study (our stand) before pushing through with (the levy).”

The Philippine Liner Shipping Association and the Philippine Coast Guard earlier made known their opposition to the proposed ordinance. PortCalls sources said international shipping lines will also come out with their own position on the issue.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had called the proposal “patently illegal and highly questionable”.

In his website, the senator noted, “The private port contractors of the Port of Manila are under the control of the PPA and all fees that they charge to public port users are regulated by the said Authority, including wharfage dues, arrastre, stevedoring, storage other fees. Therefore, to impose an additional charge for the entry into and use of the marine waters of the City of Manila is be collected by the PPA’s private contractors for the City of Manila will not only distort the fee structure determined and approved by the PPA but will also render the cost of trading goods to and from the country even more uncompetitive than it already is.”

He added, “If this is allowed, what would stop other local municipalities and cities from inordinately imposing the same or even higher charges for the use of their respective municipal or city marine waters? This situation can only lead to a chaotic and unpredictable trade environment for the country, as each local government can be expected to follow suit with the objective of raising their own revenues.”

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