MALACAÑANG PALACE — President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. approved on Tuesday the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Three-year Food Logistics Action Agenda aimed at revolutionizing the country’s food distribution system, reducing transport and logistics costs, and ensuring food supply chain efficiency. 

The President approved the plan during a sectoral meeting in Malacañang with Secretaries Alfredo Pascual of the Department of Trade and Industry, Benjamin Abalos of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Ivan Uy of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and Frederick Go of the Office of Presidential Adviser on Investment and Economic Affairs, Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban of the Department of Agriculture, Undersecretary Zeno Ronald Abenoja of the Department of Finance, Undersecretary Elmer Sarmiento of the Department of Transportation, Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon of the National Economic and Development Authority and Director General Ernesto Perez of the Anti-Red Tape Authority. 

The creation of the 3-year food logistics agenda was one of the directives of the President during the 8th Cabinet meeting in September 2022 to the DA, DTI, DOTr, DPWH and DILG to develop a food logistics chain, cold chain industry, ports infrastructure and farm-to-market roads. 

The action plan’s general objective is to ensure the availability, accessibility, and affordability of food for Filipinos, and that consumers reliably get the right product at the right time. 

It is committed to a whole-of-government approach where key agencies involved shall be required to prioritize, focus, and allocate funding on specific initiatives. 

The Three-Year Food Logistics Action Agenda contains six key strategies to ensure success. These include revolutionizing the Philippines’ food distribution system, reducing transport and logistics costs, increasing investments in logistics infrastructure on transportation and storage, and addressing other supply chain gaps. 

The plan also seeks to heighten enforcement measures against hoarding, smuggling, overstaying food imports, and monitoring of warehouses or cold storage facilities, and resorting to using information and communications technology to improve logistics performance. 

The DTI has outlined efforts to integrate food terminals into the logistics framework through upgrading of existing food terminals and building additional food hubs in Metro Manila and other areas in the country. 

By integrating food terminals, the supply chain from producers to consumers could be shortened, with standardized logistical processes and transportation system directed towards specific destinations. 

These hubs operate as central command centers for effectively supervising the balance between demand and supply with the resulting synergy within these hubs amplifying the effectiveness of the action plan. 

According to Pascual, the DTI has a pilot project with Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) together with the US Agency for International Development-Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy (USAID-SPEED) to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) transition to mature e-commerce businesses. 

“This project will help pivot NVAT from offline to online transactions thereby maximizing the potential of e-Commerce, and increasing market access for farmers’ produce,” Pascual explained. 

The trade department is also endorsing logistics-related measures for inclusion in the priority legislative agenda such as the International Maritime Competitiveness Act, which aims to empower the Maritime Industry Authority to regulate shipping lines and guard against excessive shipping charges. 

The logistics action agenda, which is part of the President’s vision to make the Philippines a logistics hub in Asia, has been developed in collaboration with the DA, DOTr, DPWH, DILG, DICT and other development partners. ♦

Date of release: 30 August 2023