No trees planted? No problem for now, PPA assures port service providers

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Mangrove seedlings. Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay
  • The Philippine Ports Authority accreditation or permit for its service providers will not be cancelled even if providers are unable to plant trees as required by the agency
  • Renewal will also not be an issue, according to PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago
  • But this is only until Department of Environment and Natural Resources issues implementing guidelines on the tree planting requirement under Administrative Order 14-2020
  • PPA will hold a meeting on May 15 together with Manila port operators Asian Terminals Inc. and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. to discuss TABS and other issues raised by truckers

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) accreditation or permit for its service providers will not be cancelled even if providers are unable to plant trees required by the agency.

Renewal will also not be an issue, according to PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago. But there’s a caveat: this is only until the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) produces tree planting implementing guidelines.

Administrative Order 14-2020 requires the planting of trees or mangroves for the issuance of accreditation, certificate of registration (COR), appointment, or award/renewal/extension of contract. It is in keeping with Executive Order No. 26 series of 2011 establishing a National Greening Program, and Republic Act No. 9729, or The Climate Change Act of 2009.

Non-compliance is a ground for cancellation or non-renewal of accreditation, permit to operate, COR, appointment, or contract.

Kung nakapagtanim po kayo, okay. Pero kung hindi naman po kayo nakapagtanim dahil walang ma-identify na tree planting location ang DENR, may magagawa po ba ang PPA? Basta alam kong may obligasyon tayo na makapagtanim ng puno ayon sa regulasyon at pagdating ng takdang oras na may proseso na ang DENR, inaasahan naming magko-comply na kayo,” Santiago said during the recent general membership meeting of the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP).

(“If you [port service providers] have planted trees, then ok. But if you have not because DENR has not identified the tree planting location, can PPA do anything? All I know is that you have an obligation to plant trees based on regulation and when the time comes that DENR issues the process, then we expect compliance.)

The statement should not be taken to mean that PPA is not strictly implementing the tree planting requirement, Santiago clarified in a Viber message to PortCalls.

“What we said is that we are waiting for DENR’s feedback on the implementation of the tree planting program. What we also said is that absent the implementing guidelines from DENR, permit holders need not worry that they will not be renewed just because of this [requirement]. They will still be required to plant all trees due from them from the time the AO became effective,” Santiago explained.

PPA assistant general manager for finance and administration Elmer Nonnatus Cadano last January acknowledged concerns on PPA’s tree planting requirement. He said this is why the ports authority is working with DENR on crafting implementing guidelines for AO 14-2020.

Stakeholders, however, pointed to compliance difficulties, including finding an area to plant trees. Truckers also pointed out tree planting is now required by other government agencies, meaning there is a duplication in requirement.

Cadano earlier said PPA is working on harmonizing the agency’s tree planting requirements with other government agencies’.

Aside from the tree planting requirement, Santiago during the CTAP meeting answered questions on PPA’s Trusted Operator Container Registry and Monitoring Program (TOP-CRMS) and Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS).

Implementation of TOP-CRMS, PPA’s proposed electronic system to register and monitor the movement of foreign containers entering and leaving PPA ports, is currently deferred following widespread opposition from stakeholders and pending a review by the Department of Transportation and PPA Board.

TABS is a government-approved web-based system that manages truck movements in and out of Manila’s international terminals. Stakeholders, particularly truckers, continue to raise issues on TABS, implemented in 2016.

PPA said it will hold another meeting on May 15 together with Manila port operators Asian Terminals Inc. and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. to discuss TABS and other issues raised by truckers.

PPA said it has also promised to meet with CTAP on a quarterly basis to discuss issues and concerns of truckers and customs brokers. – Roumina Pablo

RELATED READ: Almost 3 years after TABS adoption, PPA issues rules; agency to get 20% from TABS revenue