23 August 2022 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) recognizes that the country requires a more effective logistical system, and the ongoing pandemic has only accentuated this need. To fulfill the growing demand to transports goods efficiently and reduce the price of basic goods and necessities, it is more crucial than ever to eliminate unnecessary and burdensome regulations.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. has earlier directed government agencies to address the complaints of agricultural product transporters and freight forwarders on the policies and checkpoints imposed by Local Government Units (LGUs). We are in full support of the President’s directive and the Authority is eager to assist agencies in streamlining their processes to ensure a smooth and efficient flow of commodities.

Responding to the urgency of this situation, we immediately took the initiative of calling for a meeting with involved agencies to discuss related issue, concerns, and solutions. The meeting has been scheduled for 24 August 2022.

Prior to this, ARTA has already started to implement anti-red tape and streamlining solutions through its National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies (NEHEMIA) Program with focus on logistics as one of its priority sectors.

In 2020, ARTA, together with the Department of Finance-Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), issued the JMC No. 2020-01 or the Mandatory Online Filing, Processing, and Payment of Port Charges, Cargo Handling Charges, Other Cargo Handling-Related Charges, Permits and Ancillary Fees, and Customs Taxes and Duties, which mandates the use of online platforms for the processing and payment of import and export transactions, permits, clearances, gate passes at ports, port fees, and cargo handling-related charges.

Furthermore, the Authority, in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Finance (DOF), released the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-01 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Suspension of [Local Government Unit] LGU Imposition and Collection of Illegal Fees and Taxes Relative to the Transport of Goods and Products, enforcement of local ordinances that allow the collection of illegal fees and taxes for the transport of goods is prohibited.

Earlier this year, the Unified Logistics Pass (ULP) was launched by ARTA, together with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), DILG, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Philippine Economic Zone and Authority (PEZA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and other key agencies. ULP is a unified Quick Response (QR) code that facilitates the unhampered movement of trucks for hire delivering basic goods and necessities. It 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.

Last June 28 2022, it was turned over to LTFRB to support the continuous development of the system being the lead key implementing agency and regulator of trucks. When completely implemented, the ULP will benefit not only the logistics sector, but also the Filipinos. With the fees and policies regulated, this will have a positive effect on the cost of logistics, lowering the market price of goods.

The President’s call comes at the perfect time, and it will undoubtedly strengthen our determination to push for the implementation of the ULP as it will incur no cost to the government through free trainings to be facilitated by the Authority.

ARTA aims to continue and even expand on the significant reforms that we have already initiated. Moreover, the Authority is eager to assist and support the government in achieving the goals established by the administration in accordance with its mandate under Republic Act No. 11032, also known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.