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Abaya: Phl tapping Taiwan, Singapore, HK to ease port congestion

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya assured stakeholders yesterday that there will be ease in operations at the Port of Manila despite an expected increase in the supply of goods this Christmas season.

Abaya said authorities have coordinated with the ports in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong to further address the backlog in the movement of cargo.

“(The port) utilization remains high… probably about 80 percent and there is adequate room to move around goods,” Abaya said during the budget hearing at the Senate.

Abaya recognized that the truck ban caused a “nightmare for the government,” but said the issues are now being slowly addressed by the cluster formed by the President.

Abaya also told the Senate finance committee that the government has calculated the influx of goods during Christmas season in addressing the port congestion issue.

“We have anticipated that. The key is: the operators as a sounding board. They have related quite a huge, good number (of cargo) coming in,” he said, adding that five Cabinet secretaries are briefing the President on the port congestion issue.

Car stickers backlog

In the same hearing, finance committee chair Sen. Francis Escudero asked for updates on the release of new license plates and whether the Department of Transportation and Communications has addressed the backlog of vehicle registration stickers.

To illustrate the apparent failure of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to address the backlog in car registration stickers, Escudero noted that his fiancee, actress Heart Evangelista, has yet to get registration stickers for a brand new car purchased last year.

Escudero also cited as an example the case of his brother-in-law to dramatize the plight of vehicle owners, who are apparently dissatisfied with the LTO’s inefficiency regarding distribution of car plates and registration stickers.

The senator believes that the two cases are not isolated, and that the LTO should speed up efforts to address the motorists’ concerns.

LTO chairman Alfonso Tan was quick to tell Escudero that he would immediately coordinate with the senator’s office regarding his concerns.

No plate, no travel policy

Since the backlog on license plates has been addressed, Abaya also announced yesterday that the LTO would impose anew the “no plate, no travel policy” for cars later this month or early November. The same campaign would also be implemented for motorcycles in January.

“We are finalizing the details (for the no license, no travel policy),” he said, adding that they are ready to brief President Aquino about it.

The move would force car dealers to speed up the processes needed to release new vehicles. It aims to allow car owners to pressure their dealers regarding the release of new plates.

Abaya added that the re-imposition of the policy would also strengthen law enforcers in the campaign against criminality.

ABAYA

ALFONSO TAN

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

FRANCIS ESCUDERO

HEART EVANGELISTA

LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE

PORT OF MANILA

PRESIDENT AQUINO

SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG

TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY JOSEPH EMILIO ABAYA

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