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Exporters lament over redundant laws

Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - October 12, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Export players in Cebu, through the Confederation of Philippine Exporters Foundation (Philexport-Cebu), lament over the redundancies of laws in various government agencies that have inadvertently hindered the growth of the export sector.

In a position paper released yesterday, the 11 export sub-sectors in Central Visayas including: electronics, industrial goods, furniture, seaweed, food, fashion accessories, gifts, toys aired out the various concerns of each sub-sector when dealing with government agencies while navigating with the ailing export industry.

Signed by the presidents of each sub-sector, noted by the Export Development Council (EDC) Visayas representative Apolinar G. Suarez, the position paper indicated specific state-run agencies frequently involved in processing several export-related requirements, these are; the Philippine Drugs and Enforcement Agency (PDEA, including the Dangerous Drugs Board), Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bureau of Customs.

The export sector called for the immediate attention of the Philippine government to establish a single government office or government-accredited importer of controlled substances be created to rid the system of so many layers of bureaucracy and red tape.

"A situation worth looking into would be the creation of a certifying body composed of members of the aforementioned government offices, to be placed under the supervision of the Philippine International Trading Company. Local business can deal with one agency instead of dealing with four or five different government agencies and procurement of said substances be localized for the benefit of SMEs," reads the position paper.

Moreover, the export players asked the utmost consideration of the government, that the agencies involved must meet together to clarify and simplify their implementation rules, considering that not all exporters or traders are objects to these laws.

"The Philippine Legislature has passed several bills that are supposedly aimed at protecting consumers, society and business. We fully agree that these laws are needed and the spirit of these laws is well intended. However, as these laws are being implemented by different departments, bureaus, agencies and instrumentalities of government, the intent of these laws have been “lost in translation” and instead have caused bottlenecks and choke points that has resulted in heavy delays and losses to both exporters and importers," the exporters said adding that this set-up is primarily due to lack of coordination between these implementing government offices.

The traders according to the position letter  are concerned that if the situation persists, the industry will be drawn further down to the declining trend of the export industry — now caught in a downward spiral due to the softness of the global markets and very strong competition from regional neighbors.

The whole export sector, of which 95 percent are SMEs, provides employment to hundreds of thousands of workers in the region. It is the regional watchdog of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (national chapter) — the umbrella export organization accredited by the EDC.

APOLINAR G BUREAU OF CUSTOMS CENTRAL VISAYAS CONFEDERATION OF PHILIPPINE EXPORTERS FOUNDATION DRUGS ADMINISTRATION DRUGS AND ENFORCEMENT AGENCY DRUGS BOARD EXPORT EXPORT DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL GOVERNMENT PHILIPPINE
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