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Permanent use of Batangas Port, Subic Bay Port insisted amid truck ban

An award-winning public servant from Valenzuela City reiterated his call on the government to develop Batangas Port and Subic Bay Port for permanent use with on-going implementation of truck ban in Manila.


Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian again suggested the development of Batangas Port and Subic Bay Port after the World Bank cited that the truck ban in Manila makes it harder for investors to do business in the country.


“In the Philippines trading across borders became more difficult because of a new city ordinance restricting truck traffic in Manila,” stated in a World Bank report.


In Doing Business 2015 report, the World Bank said the Philippines dropped to 95th from 86th in its ranking among 189 economies.


Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority or NEDA noted a 27.2-percent fall in the value of imported capital goods last June to $1 billion from $1.4 billion in the same period last year.


NEDA explained this is a result of the port congestion. Capital goods such as machinery and heavy equipment are vital as they make local firms more globally competitive.


Other reports stated that delays in the release of capital goods in turn affected the capability of economic zone firms to meet targets, causing clients to cancel orders and award new ones to other countries in Asia.


It was explained in the same report that this also leads to the temporary layoff of about 20,000 workers.


Gatchalian, a vice chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said the government should focus on stepping up the development of the Batangas Port and Subic Bay Port to make it more attractive to businesses to have their shipments sourced there instead of the Port of Manila.


“Instead of making the Batangas Port and Subic Bay Port only as extensions of the Port of Manila, why not develop them and use them for good? This way the port congestion is not only solved but also the use of the said ports are maximized,” Gatchalian said.

“We are wasting the taxpayers’ money if we leave the two ports idle,” the vice chair of House Committee on Metro Manila Development pointed out.


Gatchalian also asked the executive branch to look for other ways to draw businesses into using the two ports instead of the usual incentives as the President himself pointed out that the private sector should do its part in speeding up cargo movement.


“The government has to ask businesses on the ground level why they are not using the said ports and what will entice them into doing so, as clearly the traditional fiscal perks are not working. There should be solid communication between the private sector and the government,” he added.


Earlier, the Valenzuela City lawmaker filed House Resolution No. 1444, which urges the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry on the immediate use and subsequent long-term development of the Batangas Port and Subic Bay Port as alternative to the congested Port of Manila.


Gatchalian, a member of House Committee on Trade and Industry, filed the resolution in response to the alarming bottleneck in the Port of Manila caused mainly by Manila City government’s daytime truck ban ordinance which effectively cut the daily processing capacity of the port to around 3,500 containers from 6,000.


Congestion in the Port of Manila also caused prices of goods such as imported meat, vegetables and fruits to spike as ships refuse to replenish the supply to Manila because of lack of space in the container port. (Monica Cantilero)