MANILA — Various stakeholders held a peaceful caravan at the Port Area in Manila to oppose the Philippine Port Authority's Trusted Operator Program Container Registry Monitoring System (TOP CRMS).
The protesters include truckers groups, logistics providers, brokers, and drivers.
The groups say the TOP CRMS is merely an added cost to the industry, which is already reeling from high costs.
They earlier told a Senate panel that aside from additional costs that may be passed on to consumers, it would also entail a longer process to clear and retrieve cargo from ports.
"Lahat nang nasa Pier kalaban na ng TOP CRMS, tutol dito sa programang ito. Hindi naman maintindihan bakit pinipilit pa din ito ni (PPA GM) Jay Santiago. Ang gusto namin ay tuluyan itong ibasura ang AO 04-2021 dahil mangangahulugan ito sa dagdag presyo sa bilihin, at ang hanggang pinaka maliit na tao apektado," ACTOO Vice President Rina Papa said.
The PPA had earlier deferred the program amid stiff opposition from stakeholders, but maintained the TOP CRMS would help ease port congestion and do away with container deposits that allegedly hamper the industry.
The transportation department had also promised to study the matter at length and noted the deferment of the program would remain until further notice.
But the groups opposing the measure want it totally scrapped and promised to continue pressuring the government until the PPA listens to them.
The caravan caused some traffic buildup along Bonifacio Drive in Manila, after organizers said hundreds of trucks and private vehicles participated.
For its part, the PPA noted it respects the group's right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech, but it did note the action caused traffic buildup in the port area which affected other industries and people just trying to get to work.
In a statement, Philippine Port Authority General Manager Jay Santiago said the TOP CRMS was still an ongoing discussion among various stakeholders.
"Ang hindi po maganda rito ay kailangan pang gamitin ng mga nag-o-oppose sa TOP CRMS ang batas ng kalsada kaya’t hindi po makapagtrabaho ang ilang mga tao. Hindi lang naman PPA ang nag-iisang opisina sa Bonifacio Drive na naistorbo sa ginawang aktibidad na ito. Bukas naman po ang PPA sakaling hindi matuloy itong programa nating TOP-CRMS," Santiago said.
"Ang mangyayari lang naman kung di ito maipatupad ay magpapatuloy lang ang dekada ng problema ng mga importers, truckers at customs brokers natin. Sinusubukan lang naman po nating mag-offer sana ng solusyon sa problema pero kung hindi po ito matutuloy, wala pong problems," he added.