Privatization of PPA operations sought
LAWMAKERS on Tuesday moved to amend the charter of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to pave the way for the privatization of the agency and enhance its competition and efficiency in port infrastructure development and services.
Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) and Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), authors of House Bill 1667, said there is a need to strengthen and streamline the operations of PPA by amending Presidential Decree 857 that created the agency.
Rodriguez said the bill will encourage privatization and expand the participation of the private sector in the development, management and operations of ports through the build-operate-and-transfer scheme.
However, Rodriguez said port privatization shall not include the sale or transfer of ownership of port assets or facilities.
Rodriguez said the measure will promote private sector participation in the planning and development of seaports in the country, encourage decentralization of local port management offices and decoupling of the PPA’s regulatory and commercial functions.
According to Rodriguez, when PPA was organized in 1974 to manage and operate the seaports all over the country and despite being government-owned, the PPA’s record of accomplishment in port development has been lackluster and at best, mediocre.
“At present, our port infrastructure facilities are either inadequate or unresponsive to the needs of the users. The delivery of port services is ineffective and inefficient. In addition, the revenue derived from the cargo handling services is on the decline,” Rodriguez said.
The measure provides for the fostering of viable competition among ports and ensuring the efficient provision of port services taking into consideration the physical configuration or constraints of the ports, vessel and cargo traffic and such other relevant factors.
Under the measure, the PPA shall perform as the national port planning body and shall have jurisdiction over the development, maintenance, management and operations of ports.
The bill provides that the PPA shall establish and administer a port system comprising of vital ports critical to the trade and transport network of the country. The national port system shall comprise all ports in the country, whether owned by the government or under private ownership and whether operated commercially or for a special purpose.
The PPA shall have jurisdiction on all ports intended or used for commercial purpose or those built primarily for receiving vessels for the purpose of loading or discharging passengers and cargoes.