PEZA seeks locators’ exemption from Comelec’s regulated chemicals transport ban

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  • The Philippine Economic Zone Authority is asking the Commission on Elections to immediately issue ecozone locators permits to transport regulated chemicals and raw materials
  • The Election Code bans the transport of guns, ammunition and hazardous chemicals during the election period for security reasons
  • PEZA says locators that use the regulated chemicals have a good track record and have never been involved in any election-related violence
  • Nine PEZA-registered enterprises are awaiting approval of their applications
  • Operations of 2 enterprises have shut since late February and another two had used up their chemical supplies on the first week of March

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately issue to locators a Certificate of Authority to Transport (CA-TT) regulated chemicals and raw materials in order to avert factory shutdowns.

The Election Code bans the transport of guns, ammunition and hazardous chemicals during the election period for security reasons.

PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said she has received reports from locators that their request to transport chemicals had been denied by Comelec.

Nine PEZA-registered enterprises are awaiting approval of their permit applications. Two of companies have shut their operations since the last week of February and another two had already used up their chemical supplies on the first week of March.

Plaza noted PEZA locators using regulated chemicals have a good track record as manufacturers and exporters and have never been involved in any election-related violence.

She added she hopes Comelec will “review the CA-TT application process especially in our ecozones so that transport of regulated chemicals will not stop or be delayed during the election period.”

PEZA-registered manufacturing companies use chemicals in their operations and are regulated by the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office (PNP-FEO). Such chemicals include sulfur powder, nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate.

While the use, importation, transport, or manufacture of these chemicals is already covered by PNP-FEO permits, Comelec each election season issues a resolution requiring duplicate permits through the Committee on Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns.

On March 16, Plaza met with newly-appointed Comelec chairman Saidamen Balt Pangarungan to request exemption of PEZA-registered enterprises from the election ban.

“Based on PNP-FEO records, manufacturers using regulated chemicals only form a small fraction of permit applicants during the election period, compared with the gun or ammunition applications,” Plaza pointed out.

She said Pangarungan “expressed his firm support in addressing the competitiveness issues faced by manufacturers and buyers of regulated chemicals” and has “vowed to establish a transparent and expeditious processing of CA-TTs.”

Plaza added PEZA also sought the help of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Anti-Red Tape Authority to hasten release of CA-TT permits.