The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) has lifted the truck holiday it started on November 22 on the condition that discussions on the issues raised by truckers’ groups with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and port operators will continue.
CTAP on its website in the evening of November 25 issued the brief statement that “‘CTAP Truck Rest Day’ was officially lifted effective immediately.”
The association earlier that day committed to end the protest action in a dialogue called by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and participated in by truckers’ groups and government agencies.
But CTAP said its commitment hinges on continued discussions on their complaints, particularly regarding the requirement for a Permit to Operate (PTO) and a Certificate of Accreditation (CA), as well as other related PPA issuances.
Earlier, CTAP president Mary Zapata appealed to the PPA and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) to have a serious discussion to resolve the issues of truck operators and drivers.
The association said it launched the truck holiday on November 22 to protest the issuances and regulations that impose additional burdens on truckers, including PPA Memorandum Circular (MC) 19-2021.
Dated October 13, MC 19-2021 implements the “No Permit, No Service” policy, requiring truckers to obtain a CA and a PTO to be allowed to transact at port terminals.
The Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (ACTOO) during the meeting specifically called for the suspension of the policy while a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) is being conducted as prescribed by the law.
ACTOO also sought clarification for the basis of the amount being collected by PPA and the rationale for having to pay two policy instruments being implemented by the same body.
Under PPA Administrative Order 06-2019 issued in 2019, all port service providers must secure a CA from the authority before the PTO is issued.
Last November 6, PPA announced it was reducing the processing fees for all PTO applications filed by transport service providers before the end of the year to ease their burden. The processing fee for the PTO will revert to the old rates starting January 1, 2022, but that for the issuance of a CA will remain unchanged.
PPA was reportedly not responsive to the requests of the truckers’ associations, specifically on reducing the fees and suspending the implementation of MC 19-2021.
However, PPA official Rey del Moro, Jr. said he will relay the recommendations to the upper management, including extending the moratorium on MC 19-2021, preparing an RIA for the circular, and drafting a response letter to ARTA’s policy recommendations.
ARTA has recommended extending the moratorium on the PTO policy and subjecting it to an RIA to identify its benefits and costs to stakeholders.
PPA said it is currently finalizing its response letter.
At the meeting, ARTA said that in view of PPA’s position and the truckers’ demands, it will start reviewing the merits of the issue and may refer it to the ARTA Legal Department for possible filing of cases. ARTA said it will also elevate the issue to the Office of the President.
The agency added that it is open to providing the venue for continued dialogue between the truckers’ groups and the government agencies.
CTAP is also opposed to other activities being implemented, including MICT’s Terminal Appointment Booking System or TABS, saying it is a burden on truckers with its high penalties like the “No Show Penalty,” “Early Entry Penalty” and the frequent unavailability of slots at the port.
The organization likewise slammed MICT Advisory No. 2021-1622, the terminal operator’s new policy that CTAP said was made without consultation, as well as the passing-through penalty.
ICTSI and CTAP have both agreed to continue discussions on issues raised.