House approves regulation of harbor pilotage

THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill that seeks to regulate harbor pilots and harbor pilotage services in all ports in the Philippines.

Rep. Roilo Golez (2nd District, Parañaque City), main proponent of House Bill 6870, which substitutes HBs 296, 1204, 4652 and 4743, said the enactment into law of the bill will hasten the growth and development of Philippine ports whether owned and maintained by the government or by private entities.

Golez said HB 6870 would improve the traffic management system in Philippine ports and ensure the safety of passengers, port facilities, vessels, cargoes and other port uses.

It will also provide for an effective and efficient delivery of pilotage services through rationalization of pilotage fees and charges, upgrading their skills and qualifications and developing professionalism among harbor pilots.

The bill will likewise promote a healthy, friendly and competitive environment among entities involved in rendering pilotage services in the country.

According to Golez, the said bill creates the Pilotage Committee, which will have the power to regulate the pilotage profession and the conduct of pilotage service in all Philippine ports, including chartered ports, autonomous regions, and economic zones.

The Secretary of the Department of Transporation and Communication (DOTC) shall peg the amount of compensation, allowances and per diems of the members of the Pilotage Committee, Golez said.

This bill also authorizes the Pilotage Committee to determine and adjust the rates and fees for harbor pilotage services, conduct consultative meetings with accredited pilotage organization to improve services and to determine and appoint the number of harbor pilots needed in pilotage districts in the country, among others.

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