PPA chief blasts digitalization flak

Aside from the public hearing, there is a separate focus group discussion, and the truckers were there. And I do not know where this claim that they are not being heard is coming from

Unfounded charges are being hurled by some stakeholders in the logistics industry to oppose the Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry and Monitoring System or TOP-CRMS that the Philippine Ports Authority is pushing to counter rising charges such as container deposits and missing empty containers.

Philippine Ports Authority general manager Jay Daniel Santiago in a radio program yesterday expressed astonishment at the wild claims.

Santiago expressed disagreement and clarified that the TOP-CRMS is still undergoing various legal and regulatory procedures, while its implementing guidelines are being prepared by the PPA Board.

“I do not know where the misinformation is coming from that the TOP-CRMS will be implemented 1 April from 1 February 2023. The PPA has not released any official notice that TOP-CRMS will be implemented this 1 April as it still undergoes regulatory and compliance processes. Most likely, some parties are spreading misinformation to our stakeholders in the port community,” Santiago said.

In a radio interview, for instance, a truckers group said digitalization was not needed “because systems in all ports are all digitized. All sectors have rolled out efforts, not only to monitor containers but also to their operations. Why is there a need to duplicate?” they asked.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., nonetheless, during a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council, greenlighted TOP-CRMS as he wanted the system employed as soon as possible.

Fake news spreads

Santiago also belied allegations that stakeholders were not advised of the TOP-CRMS implementation since the proposal had gone through a battery of public consultations, the most recent of which was on 4 January and during the Truckers Summit last 16 January.

“Aside from the public hearing, there is a separate focus group discussion, and the truckers were there. And I do not know where this claim that they are not being heard is coming from. They must also realize that the formula of the AO-4-2021 was already adjusted due to concerns raised during public consultations with end users,” Santiago explained.

“It does not mean that if their concerns are not included in the updated version of the AO, we are not already listening to them. We are striking a balance for every suggestion being given to us by stakeholders. We cannot accommodate suggestions that are unreasonable and irrelevant to the system,” the PPA chief pointed out.


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