EO in the way of accreditation body for PH multimodal transport operators
Port Calls Asia
April 12, 2016

The push to have a national accreditation body for multimodal transport operators (MTOs) in the Philippines, one of the integrative actions being pursued by member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is being hampered by an executive order (EO).

At the presentation of the draft Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) National Logistics Masterplan (NLM) on April 7, Atty. Sherielysse Bonifacio, assistant secretary for planning and finance of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), said the transport department has proposed assuming the role of national accreditation body for MTOs, with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) agreeing to the suggestion.

But Bonifacio said formalizing the agreement to assign DOTC as the accreditation body for MTOs is hindered by an EO that placed the function of accreditation of sea freight forwarders with another agency, the DTI.

Forming a national accreditation body is required under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Multimodal Transport (AFAMT) in order for local MTOs of member nations to operate in other ASEAN countries. Concluded in 2005, the framework agreement is now in force in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Philippines, through the DOTC, committed to the AFAMT in 2005, but has yet to do the groundwork and institutionalize the agreement

The problematic EO ? EO 514 ? converted the Philippine Shippers? Council into the Philippine Shippers? Bureau (PSB), tasked to accredit freight forwarders. This function was later turned over to the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau when the DTI implemented a rationalization plan in 2014. The supply chain function of PSB, on the other hand, was transferred to the newly created Supply Chain and Logistics Management Division.

?For us to transfer the seafreight (accreditation role) to DOTC, you will have to amend the EO,? Bonifacio explained.

Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association, Inc. (PISFA) chairman Mariz Regis, during the question and answer portion of the presentation, underscored the need to establish the certifying body.

She noted that the country ?will be at the losing end? once other ASEAN freight forwarders and logistics providers start to operate in the Philippines, while local MTOs are not permitted to penetrate other ASEAN countries.

National Competitiveness Council (NCC) co?chairman Guillermo Luz suggested that PISFA collate all documents and recommendations pertaining to the proposed EO amendment and MTO certification, and submit these to NCC?s Project Repeal.

Project Repeal recommends to the Cabinet Economic Cluster the amendment or repeal of national or even local orders to ?align (them) with business and economic realities.?

Luz said the first batch of recommendations would be submitted on April 22 so there is an urgent need for PISFA to put together its documents.

PISFA president Doris Torres had earlier stressed that complying with the stipulation to form a single certifying body will help the country?s multimodal transport operators compete with ASEAN counterparts, reduce their costs, and cut delays as they only need to register with one agency instead of several.?

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