Port users buck 24% hike in rates
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has approved a 24-percent increase in the cargo handling tariff for the Manila North Harbour Port Inc. (MNHPI), a move that an umbrella group of consumer stakeholders said was unjustified and would lead to higher cost of goods.
The PPA’s technical working group made the recommendation to approve the tariff hike despite the objection of Manila North Harbor clients opposing the increase. It was upheld by PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago through Memorandum No. 4.
“The members of the technical working group are going against what President Rodrigo Duterte had laid down in his 10-point socio-economic, which is to increase business competitiveness, attract investments, and protect Juan dela Cruz from economic shocks,” Rodolfo Javellana Jr., president of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters, said in a press statement.
“Consumers will ultimately bear the brunt of this tariff increase because traders will just pass on the added costs to the public. The public will always be at the losing end. MNHPI says it wants to upgrade its facilities to justify the tariff increase, but they want consumers to pay for their upgrade. It is as if MNHPI wants to be the only one to benefit from this set-up and the technical working group sided with them,” Javellana added.
Javellana also slammed the double profit that San Miguel Corp., which holds majority share of MNHPI through Petron Corp., will enjoy with the tariff adjustment.
“This adjustment serves two purposes: on one hand, tariff increase for MNHPI, and on the other hand, more profit for Petron because of what they claimed to be increases in fuel cost. That is double profit for Petron and a double-whammy for all consumers,” he said.
“The technical working group that recommended the approval of the tariff increase is aware of this. In fact, during the consultations held by the PPA, almost all stakeholders have opposed the plan of MNHPI. Yet PPA still favored the increase,” Javellana said.
In his memorandum, Santiago said the upward adjustment would be implemented in three tranches.
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