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Philippine Economic Zone Authority deputy director general for operations Harriet Abordo said the agency plans to lengthen the validity of accreditation of truckers, freight forwarders and customs brokers to three years from the current one year.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is working to slash requirements for accreditation as well as extend the validity of accreditation of truckers, freight forwarders, and customs brokers servicing PEZA-registered enterprises and locators from one year to three years.

PEZA plans to reduce the requirements for accreditation of truckers from 21 documents to eight, for freight forwarders from 19 down to seven, and for customs brokers from 19 to just six, PEZA deputy director general for operations Mary Harriet Abordo said in a press conference during the 2nd Logistics Services Philippines Conference and Exhibition hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Competitiveness Bureau on July 15.

Abordo added that they also plan to lengthen the accreditation’s validity to three years from the current one year.

She said PEZA “excitedly” joined the initiative to streamline requirements, led by DTI and the World Bank-International Finance Corp. (IFC), as “it is about time after a long time” that the investment promotions agency review the accreditation of logistics service providers.

Abordo highlighted the importance of the logistics industry, noting that “we consider the logistics industry as a very important partner of PEZA…for generating and effecting quick turnaround of the goods of our PEZA-registered enterprises.” She said PEZA has close to 4,000 registered companies that require just-in-time deliveries and quick turnaround time for the daily 2,000 to 3,000 import shipments and 4,000 export shipments throughout the country.

She explained, however, that the accreditation of logistics service providers is necessary because about 70% of PEZA-registered enterprises and locators are foreign investors, and PEZA wants these enterprises to engage with legitimate logistics service companies that have appropriate permits from government agencies.

Ensuring accountability

Another reason for accreditation is to ensure accountability, as the cargoes that logistics services providers will be handling are duty- and tax-exempt.

Abordo said processing of accreditation will be in accordance with the Anti-Red Tape Act. She noted that PEZA currently averages two to three days of processing, and takes at least five days if there are complications.

Abordo, in an interview with PortCalls, said one of the requirements they will no longer ask from logistics service providers is their list of PEZA-registered clients or prospective PEZA-registered clients.

She said most of the requirements would be compliance documents, such as permits from the concerned regulatory agency, income tax return, and mayor’s permit.

Abordo said PEZA will have a meeting again soon with WB-IFC on the proposed reduced list of requirements to review if it can still be further trimmed.

The new list of requirements will be implemented through a memorandum circular that will be signed by the PEZA director general and might be released in a month’s time.

Aside from PEZA, the DTI and IFC are also working with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau to also extend the validity of the permits of truckers and sea freight forwarders and streamline the requirements for getting these permits. – Text and photo by Roumina Pablo

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