PCCI urges govt: Speed up mobility with good rules, infra
THE country’s largest business network is demanding that the government harmonize traffic rules and expedite the rollout of infrastructure projects to improve the flow of trade and movement of people within the nation’s capital.
In a draft resolution, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) called on the Departments of Transportation (DOTr) and of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), as well as local government units in Metro Manila and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), to harmonize traffic policies in the capital region. It also asked the government “to rationalize the imposition of LGU fees on inter-urban freight.”
The PCCI is also asking lawmakers to legislate the traffic crisis bill, saying it will provide a comprehensive and integrated land-based traffic management in Metro Manila.
Under Senate Bill 213, or the Special Emergency Powers Act, the President will be granted by Congress emergency powers to resolve the traffic situation in Metro Manila. Authored by Sen. Francis N. Tolentino, the bill allows the President through the transportation secretary as traffic chief to enter into negotiated contracts for the construction, repair, restoration, rehabilitation or maintenance of priority projects.
It suspends the Local Government Code’s requiring prior consultation with LGUs on traffic-related projects and the National Building Code mandating building permits, clearances and certifications.
The bill also suspends the need for environmental clearance certificate and tree-cutting permit for the implementation of priority projects. The Labor Code requirement for clearances and permits for the hiring of foreigners with regard to foreign technicians and experts working in traffic-related projects is suspended as well by the bill.
Tolentino said this measure should address the traffic crisis in Metro Manila that costs it P3.5 billion a day, per a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
However, the proposal to grant the President emergency powers is facing rough sailing in the Senate, where Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, believes existing laws and policies can resolve the traffic mess in Metro Manila, making emergency powers unnecessary.
Meanwhile, the PCCI is asking the DOTr to accelerate completion of the North Integrated Transport Exchange in Bulacan to help reduce traffic in Metro Manila and as a follow-through to the implementation of the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange.
It is also lobbying the DOTr and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to consider proposals to upgrade the facilities and interconnection of the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). The PCCI said the option of putting up a third runway in the country’s premier gateway must be studied, too.
“This will increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhance passenger comfort and experience, and elevate Naia to become a viable transit hub for the Asean region,” the resolution read.
The PCCI also wants the joint administrative order, regulating the application of shipping fees imposed by freight carriers, enforced. The order is seen to reduce logistics cost in the Philippines—the highest among Southeast Asian manufacturing rivals Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, according to a study by the World Bank and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Philippine firms reportedly spend 27.16 percent of their sales on logistics services, higher than those in Indonesia (21.4 percent), Vietnam (16.3 percent) and Thailand (11.11 percent).
These policy recommendations are among the 38 resolutions the PCCI drafted and will submit to the government for its consideration. The resolutions will be finalized by the end of the 45th Philippine Business Conference on October 16 and 17 at the Manila Hotel.