By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives is urging the Philippine Ports Authority to discontinue the imposition of weighing fee on big rolling cargoes using ports that cater to roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessels.
The appeal contained in House Resolution 2532 was made by the Lower House after the House Committee on Transportation noted that the fees imposed by the PPA “ends up as a burden” to consumers.
HR 2532 was adopted without any amendment during the last session of the Lower House on Wednesday.
HR 2532 is authored by former president and outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Reps. Bayani Fernando (Lakas, Marikina City); Yedda Marie Romualdez (Lakas, Leyte) and Jose Carlos Cari (NPC, Leyte). It called on the PPA to address the concerns raised by RORO operators and traders in connection with the imposition of alleged unreasonable fees for cargo handling services.
The House Committee on Transportation conducted a series of oversight and technical working group meetings to determine the concerns affecting RORO operators, the transportation cost and related regulations of the PPA.
In one meeting held in Hilongos, Leyte, The House panel noted that shipping expenses that dictate the cost of consumer goods transported through RORO have become restrictive.
PPA’s fees for the use of weighbridge in several ports have also been protested.
“During the meeting, while the PPA explained that the fee is being charged for handling services, the shipping sector argued that the assessment is unreasonable, because of the “nature of rolling cargoes does not require any handling service.”
Under the law, the PPA is mandated to levy dues, rates, or charges for the use of the premises, works, appliance facilities and for services provided by PPA.
“After a careful deliberation and evaluation of the issues, and thorough examination of documents submitted by the stakeholders, the House Committee on Transportation believes that the assessment in question, adds up to the shipping cost of goods and ultimately ends up as a burden on the end-users, considering that weighing is a component of handling of cargoes already covered by arrastre fees which is currently being charged by the handling operators,” the Lower House stated.