13 January 2022 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on Wednesday, officially launched the pilot implementation of the Unified Logistics Pass (ULP), a unified Quick Response (QR) code that will facilitate the unhampered movement of trucks for hire that deliver basic goods and necessities across the country.

During the virtual ceremonial launch, Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, ARTA Director General, led other government agencies in the signing of Memorandum of Agreement ( MOA ) and Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) on the ULP’s pilot implementation.

The ULP aims to eliminate the varying and separate pass-through stickers being required by economic zones, ports, and local government units (LGUs) to allow easier movement and ease port-entry restrictions for trucks.

Trucking companies can get the said pass when they apply for a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) from the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and/or when they apply for accreditation/registration with special economic zones.

Through a unified application form with the LTFRB, trucking companies will be able to simultaneously apply for accreditation with port authorities and/or special economic zones, among others. Payment of fees for the accreditation or registration with different entities shall also be made under a single window or through a business one-stop shop.

Once approved, they will be given a QR Code which can be easily scanned by different government authorities including port authorities, special economic zones, and LGUs. ARTA Undersecretary Ernesto V. Perez, Deputy Director General for Operations, clarified that there would be no extra cost for the ULP other than the usual payments being required by government offices in claiming CPCs.

Usec. Perez also said ARTA took cue from the successful implementation of the RapidPass system led by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Citing data from the World Bank Group (WBG), Usec. Perez said the implementation of the ULP can cut down the processing steps of documents from 209 to 56 or by about 73 percent and the processing time from 271 days to 35 days or by 87 percent.

Using standard model cost calculation, the WBG also said that the Philippine government can save over P1.9 billion in funds with the implementation of the said pass.

The ULP will be implemented in nine pilot sites, namely Port of Manila, Manila Harbor Center, Manila North Harbor, Manila International Container Terminal, Clark Freeport Zone, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Cavite Export Processing Zone, Batangas International Port, and Port of Matnog, Sorsogon starting 18 January 2022.

Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica, ARTA Director General, said that aside from the streamlining benefits of the ULP, it would also lower the cost of basic goods, making living easier and more comfortable for Filipinos which is ARTA’s primary goal.

“The implementation of the Unified Logistics Pass is actually a significant step forward not only for the logistics sector, but more so for the Filipino people. Sa marami pong taon ang logistics sector po ay ilang beses na pong tinawag ang atensyon at napakadami pong mga pagkakataon na ang reklamo at ang hirap ho ng taumbayan ay nararanasan dahil sa iba’t iba pong mga fees, iba’t iba pong mga port fees, pass-through fees, at sa kadulu-duluhan po nito, these will now eventually add to the cost where the consumer will be made to take the brunt of all of these regulatory costs. But now, through this Unified Logistics Pass, all of these can now be changed,” he said.

“The full implementation of the ULP will definitely lower the cost of products as well, at least that is what we are hoping to achieve. This would and should really have a massive impact on the lives of the simple Juan Dela Cruz, the simple Filipino who is just really making sure that he would be able to make ends meet during this pandemic,” he added.

Usec. Perez also stressed that the pass would even mitigate road traffic since trucks that have the ULP should not be stopped to have their passes inspected. He also said that it would rid the country’s roads of non-franchised or colorum container trucks as the ULP will only be issued to legitimate holders of the CPC.

“Makikita po natin dito, and mafe-feel talaga natin ‘yung cargo trucks will be allowed unimpeded travel. So, pati na rin po sa traffic maa-avoid na rin ‘yan because the government authorities, police agency, mga pulis po natin, hindi na dapat sila pinapara o iniistop para i-check ang kanilang pass dahil supposedly, mayroon na ‘yang ULP pass na nakalagay dun sa windshield niya and the mere use of a mechanical device, ‘yung mechanical, mare-read ‘yon. So, tuloy-tuloy po ang movement ng cargo truck without it being stopped along the way,” he said.

The ULP is in accordance with ARTA’s flagship National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficiency Measures of Interrelated Agencies (NEHEMIA) Program, which aims to reduce the time, costs, and requirements or procedures of government services in five priority sectors by 52 percent in 52 weeks.

Logistics was listed among the NEHEMIA Program’s five priority sectors, along with Telco, Food and Pharma, Housing, and Energy.

“Logistics is one of the sectors that play an important role in the change and improvement of economic indicators, as it creates employment and increases national income and foreign investment. However, the country’s logistics is in the face of a regulatory environment that stifles rather than encourages efficiency and competitiveness,” the MOA read.

“Due to the country’s archipelagic nature, and inconsistent regulations, the Philippines has one of the highest logistics costs among the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” it added.

The LTFRB, DICT, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Economic Zone and Authority (PEZA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) were among the agencies that signed the MOA and JMC.

Other signatory agencies and groups include the Asian Terminal, Inc. (ATI), International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), Manila Harbor Center Port Services, Inc. (MHCPSI), Manila North Harbour Port, Inc. (MNHPI), University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services-Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development (UPPAF-RESPOND), and Developers Connect Philippines, Inc. (DevCon).