In separate letters to PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago, three trade associations—Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI), Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP), and Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA)—sought exemption of their sectors from PPA Administrative Order (AO) 06-2019.
AO 06-2019, which took effect on August 7, requires all port service providers to secure accreditation from PPA before a port services award contract or permit to operate (PTO) is issued.
CCBI president Adones Carmona, in a letter dated August 6, said the customs broker profession is “not covered by the scope and coverage under Section 2 of PPA AO 06-2019”.
Customs brokers, he said, are not considered port service providers and their scope of practice is “clearly provided under Section 6 of RA (Republic Act) 9280 (The Customs Brokers Act of 2004) which is only associated to imported and exported goods under Customs jurisdiction.”
He cited how former PPA general manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla, in a letter to the Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines dated March 29, 2010, ruled the exemption of customs brokers from the requirement to secure a PTO under PPA AOs 08-96 and 13-77.
Sevilla noted that under no circumstance has AO 06-2019 changed the practice of customs brokers, which is already regulated by the Professional Regulation Board for Customs Brokers under the Professional Regulation Commission.
Carmona said PPA’s accreditation requirement for customs brokers, who also already comply with the accreditation policy of the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC), runs counter to President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of “streamlining processes in government transactions and the essence of RA 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act.”
This view is shared by CTAP and PLSA.
In its letter dated August 8, CTAP reiterated it was against the accreditation of truckers. It said truckers already comply with requirements of other regulatory government agencies.
PLSA, in its letter dated August 6, sought clarification of the order, noting too that it was issued without public consultation.
While shipping lines, owing to the nature and peculiarity of their business, need to be within the port or pier, they are considered “port users availing of most of the services offered at the port rather than port services providers, per se”, PLSA said.
It added that domestic shipping lines are already accredited by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and apply for PTOs with PPA to allow them to be within the port/pier as necessitated by their operations and type of business.
In addition, the group said the definition of port services under AO 06-2019 “is not clear nor specific.”
It said domestic shipping lines are compelled to submit their audited annual financial reports to MARINA and are penalized if they fail to meet their June 30 deadline. “To require them to submit the same document for PPA accreditation adds another layer of bureaucratic red tape contrary to the provisions of RA 9485 (Anti-Red Tape Act) and RA 11032 (Ease of Doing Business Act),” PLSA said.
In an interview with PortCalls last month, PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago said the new accreditation policy ensures the agency knows who’s inside the port and that those who enter are “vetted… that they are running a legitimate business, that they have a legitimate reason why they are in the port.”
He noted service providers will not be required to produce new documents and that certification of port service providers with other government agencies will be accommodated.
AO 06-2019 covers customs brokerage, shipping agent, shipping line, transport service/cargo forwarding/freight forwarding/hauling/trucking/shuttling/bus, roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) service, ESM, bunkering, booking/ticketing office, canteen service, cargo checking service, cargo-handling service, cargo surveying service, chandling, cleaning service, engineering contractor, container repair, communication service, equipment hire, equipment repair, fumigation, laundering, lighterage/barging service, and mooring/unmooring.
It also encompasses passenger terminal service, pilotage service, port terminal service, parking/garage service, reproduction service, shop/store, towing/tugging service, vessel repair/maintenance, waste disposal service, water supplier, water taxi, weighbridge/truck scale, and other businesses and services that may be classified by PPA as port service.
Accreditation under AO 06-2019 is valid for three years and can be used in all other ports under PPA jurisdiction. – Roumina Pablo