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Cebu News

Port to save millions from CPA share

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The municipality of Tabuelan will no longer have to remit between P500,000 to P800,000 per month to the Cebu Port Authority as payment for wharfage, berthing and other port charges as the Memorandum of Agreement  between the CPA and the municipality has already expired in 2014.

"In view of the expired MOA entered into by CPA and the municipality which has expired in March 23, 2014, all further payments for the 40 percent share and another 15 percent share to the CPA should be withheld until another formal MOA is entered into by the two parties," said Cebu Third District Representative Gwendolyn Garcia on manifesting a motion on the said matter during the Congress Transport Oversight Committee hearing yesterday presided by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Both parties entered into a 10-year MOA on March 24, 2004 until 2014. However, after its expiration, the 10-year extension asked by the municipality was not acted upon by CPA.

Garcia said that for a period of one year from January of 2017 and January of 2018, the 40 percent share of the CPA is around P7.4 million and other 15 percent share which is equivalent to P627,000  and another P970,000 payment for VAT.

"This is a lot of money involved here and there is no formal documentation to back up the collection of these fees," added Garcia.

 Tabuelan Mayor Rex Gerona said that with this recent development, they will also lower the wharfage and port usage fees collected from ship owners and truckers.

"We are happy on this latest development. We will also lower our fees," said Gerona

Claro Cagigas Jr., offficer-in-charge of CPA's Port Management Division, said that under CPA Charter, they are still entitled to receive a ten percent share.

Garcia, however, said that the ten percent share is only applicable in ports that do not have any controversies or issues, contrary to the port of Tabuelan.

Tabuelan Vice Mayor Raul Gerona said that the municipality built the port at its own expense and no financial counterpart by the CPA.

   Cebu Fourth District Representative Benhur Salimbangon said that since CPA has not spent a single centavo in the construction of the port, it is best that the 40 percent share to the CPA should instead be retained by the municipality for the port's further improvements.

It can be recalled that the Visayan Association of Ferryboat Services and Coastwise Operators raised its complaint before the committee on the 40 percent arrastre and stevedoring fees of Tabuelan port when in fact, these two services are not being rendered by the municipality. — MBG (FREEMAN)

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