Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview after the Cabotage Bill Hearing

Lowering of Logistics Costs

I’d like to know specifically if they (DTI) have a study already and how much this measure can lower costs (of logisitics). Kasi at the end of the day, ang pinaka-pakay naman ng bill and all of the things that we are talking about is lower the cost of logistics.

Many people have commented and I think it’s largely accepted already that our cost of logistics is higher that a lot of our countries, iyong pagship natin ng mga produkto.

This hearing was conducted to check ways how we can lessen costs of our logistics. This proposal came from DOTC and is supported by everyone here.

Before proceeding, I would like DTI and even other agencies here to at least give a forecast pag pinasa natin ito, how much ang puwedeng ibaba ng presyo ng ating bilihin, number one.

Number two, I think malinaw rin that if we even file this bill, this is just one of many reforms na kailangang gawin. We have to look at costs in our ports, even in taxes currently being collected from shipping industry and even the operational costs of the shippers themselves.

The suggestion of Atty. Banez was to benchmark this across the ASEAN para makita natin how competitive we really are.

One of slides that they showed earlier showed na pagdating sa taxes, ang taas ng tinatax natin sa mga shippers natin. When we tax the shippers, they charge it to their clients.

At the end of the day, babagsak din ito sa mga Pilipino.


Policy Direction on Taxes 

We’d like to also have a clarified policy regarding, is the policy to collect more in taxes or is the policy is lower the cost of prices.

In this case, posibleng magkasalungat ang mga polisiyang iyon. We want to get a clearer picture from our friends from DOTC, MARINA, PPA and DOF.

If through this measure, if we can lower the cost of logistics even by five to ten percent, that will have an impact sa cost of goods natin.

Most goods in the Philippines pass through logistics and shipping industry because were islands. If you look at the different components that comprise the cost of a product, we’re tackling the logistics part doon.


President’s Agenda

Apart from the President pointing this out in his SONA na kailangang magpasa tayo ng policies which will lower cost, many people commented na just to ship products from the Philippines, it’s cheaper to send it to another country than to send it to another port.

In fact, one of the resource speakers mentioned that she hopes that we don’t stop here. We start with this bill, we look at the costs, we look at the taxes and eventually, we really push for long-term vision with regard to our port situation.

The current problem sa ating Port of Manila, hindi natin nalagyan ng long-term thinking that in an economy that’s growing, ang liit-liit naman ng port mo. Hindi ka gumagawa ng mga measures na palakihin at palakasin ito.

Hopefully, this will also lead to a serious reflection on our infrastructure in the Philippines and see if even now, we can really start the process of planning ahead.

We’re a growing economy. I believe that we can be a middle-income economy in a decade but that means that our ability to trade needs to be protected also and to be safeguarded. That means a long-term vision to our port infrastructure.

Ang mga usaping ito, it all leads to that. Kumbaga, nagtatahi-tahi ang issues. We have short-term solutions, we have policies that we can push but at the end of the day, ang hinahanap talaga natin ay mas mahabang pagtingin sa situation ng mga port natin.


Q: How will this solve port congestion?

Technically, the goal of this hearing is to lower prices. Kung ang port mo congested, tataas talaga ang presyo mo dahil very inefficient ang ports natin.

In short, if our ports are congested and we haven’t solved that problem, even if we pass this bill, haharapin pa rin tayo ng problema ng congestion.

But hopefully, if we able to decongest the ports and have a better policy framework for shipping, mas mura ang cost natin, posible talagang bumaba iyong presyo ng bilihin because of this measures.

But if our ports continue to be congested, maliliit, inefficient at any single point, posibleng magkagulo dahil kulang talaga ang infrastructure, then prices will go up.

If we have better infrastructure there at kung maipasa ang mga polisiyang ito, bababa naman ang presyo ng bilihin. Of course, ang hinahanap ng maraming Pilipino, bumaba ang presyo ng bilihin.



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