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Public hearings on rates, port charges, cargo-handling charges, and other port fees will have to be conducted via videoconference or teleconference during this period of public health emergency, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) announced.

PPA Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 34-2020 dated September 9 and effective immediately, further states that public hearings on PPA policies, programs, guidelines, procedures, rules and regulations should also be presented via videoconferencing or teleconferencing at this time.

MC 34-2020 covers public hearings initiated by PPA and by its service providers, and applies only during the state of public health emergency, which was declared last March due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

It further notes that this is “to further restrain the movement of personnel,” and to promote the health and safety of PPA personnel, the Board Technical Working Group that presides over the hearings, the service providers, and the public amid the continued rise in COVID-19 cases and ongoing imposition of community quarantines.

With this, PPA’s Information and Communications Technology Department was ordered to assist the concerned head office department in charge of the public hearing in setting up the videoconferencing application to be used for the public hearing.

MC 34-2020 is an addendum to PPA MC 18-2020, which provides the port authority’s implementing measures to prevent, control, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in PPA offices and facilities.

MC 18-2020 encourages the use of information and communications technology and resources to avoid or limit face-to-face interactions or encounters.

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