MANILA, Philippines - The Alyansa ng Truckers at mga Organisasyon sa Puerto (ATOP) continued to block the gates of South Harbor on the second day of its strike as part of its members' protest against the government’s lack of effort to resolve the port congestion.
Aduana Business Club (ABC) president Mary Zapata, whose group is a member of ATOP, said some of their members are still guarding the gates leading to the South Harbor, also called the Port of Manila (POM), which is being handled by the Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI).
“We continue to control the gates at the Port of Manila, no truck can enter. No truck can come in or go out,” said Zapata.
When asked if this has caused tension between their members and the authorities, she said, “No. It is a very peaceful process.”
Bureau of Customs (BOC) spokesperson Charo Logarta-Lagamon said that as of yesterday morning there were still demonstrators outside their office gate but there were fewer protesters.
Apart from the port congestion, the other issues that prompted the ATOP to stage a strike were the truck ban implemented by the Manila City government and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) policy on for-hire trucks.
Zapata said they are coordinating with the port operator ATI in a bid to find a solution to some of the issues.
One of the issues that could be tackled during their meeting was the complaints raised by some truckers over the alleged corruption activities of some ATI personnel. They claimed that in order to speed up the discharge of the empty ship containers, they had to pay about P2,000 per container so that the waiting period would be reduced from three to five days to just 24 hours.
ATI executive vice president Andrew Hoad, however, urged trucking firms to contact him if they encounter corrupt ATI personnel.
The ATOP is also arranging a meeting with BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Jesse Dellosa, Zapata said.