House Bill (HB) No. 8005 seeks to separate the regulatory and commercial functions of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and create a new port agency called Philippine Ports Corporation (PHILPORTS) will focus on developing, managing, and operating public ports.
The bill also proposes to transfer the regulatory functions of the PPA to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
Representative Arthur Yap, author of HB 8005, aims to reform the country’s ports administration to avoid conflict of interest arising from regulatory agencies vested with both regulatory and development or commercial functions.
If enacted, PHILPORTS will collect port fees and dues approved by MARINA, which will fund port development, modernization, and expansion, among others.
PHILPORTS will become more of a service provider than a revenue generating entity. It is not envisioned as earning revenue from cargo handling and/or any service providers contracted by PHILPORTS.
As such, it shall continuously give utmost priority and importance to public service delivery and promotion of public interest. It also addresses the problems of port users (domestic shippers, exporters and importers) such as low service quality, inefficient port operations and ever-increasing port charges.
Under HB 8005, it will be governed by a 15-member Board, which includes representatives from both the government and the private sector.
The Export Development Council together with other stakeholders has been stressing the need for such policy reform to lower the cost of port services for shippers that will eventually benefit the consumers.