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Port of crawl.

This time, the administration of the motorbiking, martial law-declaring Duterte Harley must tackle a different kind of terror at the Port of Manila.

Besieging one of the cargo handling operators there is his own administration, courtesy of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

From what I gathered, PPA already threatened to close down the 15-hectare terminal of the beleaguered operator.

Never mind that the terminal happens to handle more than 80 percent of the non-containerized cargo in Manila, the port of call of the so-called bulk cargo like grains and fertilizer, and the bulk break cargo such as steel pipes and billets.

In a way, the threat of its closure by PPA would punish the port users more than anybody else.

What kind of bad words would Duterte Harley utter this time?

Anyway, the root of the problem was this 'certificate of registration' cum 'permit to operate' of the operator. It was set to expire last Friday, June 9, 2017.

Efforts of the operator to renew the permit encountered hostile forces in PPA, particularly the board members who are not Cabinet members.

By law, the heads of the departments of Transportation, Finance, Trade and Industry, Environment and Natural Resources, and Public Works and Highways, and the National Economic and Development Authority must sit in the board of PPA, including the administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Also part of the board is the PPA general manager, currently Jay Daniel Santiago, and a private sector representative, who is Philip Tuazon, a former Marina administrator during the time of the late former President Corazon Aquino.

From what I gathered, Santiago, Tuazon and PPA assistant general manager for administration and finance Elmer Nonnatus Cadano actually earned very special mention in the letter of the port operator to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The company complained against the allegedly roughshod treatment it got from PPA.

The firm obtained a permit back in 2009. The operator supposedly took more than two years to overcome the hurdles before getting the permit.

Apparently learning its lesson well, the operator thus started early on its renewal, in fact as early as October 2014.

And so in June 2016, after one year and 8 months of going through a rigid process and with PPA imposing new 'requirements,' the PPA board finally approved the renewed permit-but only in principle.

Again, it was just a freaking renewal. The operator must have gone through a lot of screening and third-degree interrogation when it first got the PPA permit in 1995.

In another place on another time, renewals would simply be a breeze-but not today and not with the PPA!

Members of the PPA board at that time were still the appointees of the previous Aquino (Part II) administration. With the coming of the administration of Duterte Harley, the operator naturally inquired with the new PPA board about the pending renewal.

The new PPA board said that the approval by the old board was valid.

The operator was told, however, that it had to meet a new requirement, and then another new requirement, and some more new requirements.

In short, the renewal became a running target.

The sons of their mothers at PPA eventually changed their minds and decided to require the operator that, instead of meeting the piecemeal requirements, it would just have to submit an entirely new application.

In other words, the poor operator had to start all over again, back to square one of the chaotic process, based on the gospel of good governance of the PPA.

Besides, the operator would have to apply for a permit valid only for six months, and not the 25-year renewal already approved by the old board under our leader BS.

There-the past three years of work by the operator down the drain!

To top it all, the PPA said that if the operator would not submit a new application with all the requirements, it would have to cease operations by June 9.

The PPA supposedly informed the operator of the matter about eight days before the deadline. This, even if the 15-hectare terminal handles about 80 percent of the bulk and break bulk cargo at the port, or about 550,000 metric tons a month, totaling 6 million MTs a year?

One could only wonder if the PPA would also be willing to send an immediate advisory to foreign shipping lines that the bulk terminal would be closed.

Also, would it not be great to know what bad words Duterte Harley would utter this time?
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 15, 2017
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