The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed three agreements with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that aim to improve logistics infrastructure in the country.
“The prime directive from the President is to reduce logistics costs and establish the Philippines as a logistics hub in Asia. That is clear, and when DTI conducted supra-regional consultations nationwide, it was also clear what the private sector is saying—we need better and more infrastructure”, said DTI Secretary Fred Pascual.
Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual through his representative and DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that aims to renew and reformulate their working arrangement to jointly undertake the planning, budgeting, implementation, and monitoring of road projects that will enhance food security and logistics efficiency in the country.
The first MOA between the two agencies was signed during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, creating the Roads Leveraging Linkages of Industry and Trade (ROLL IT Program). From 2018 to 2023, the total budget allocated for this program has reached PHP60 billion for road upgrading projects that support priority industries under the Comprehensive National Industrialization Strategy. Under the new MOA, the ROLL IT Program shall be reformulated to ROLL IT 2.0—Logistics Efficiency and Transport Seamlessness to Enhance Agribusiness Trade (LETS EAT Progam), that is highly focused on improving road infrastructure along truck routes which are used to transport food and agribusiness products to markets, manufacturing centers, ports and airports, and logistics facilities such as warehouses and cold chain storages.
Further, the DTI also signed a similar convergence program with the DOTr on Logistics Efficiency and Transport Seamlessness for Growth Outcomes (LETS GO) that will identify logistics related infrastructure such as ports, airports, rail that DOTR will prioritize and implement to help increase trade, reduce logistics costs, and improve efficiency.
The DTI and DOTr also agreed to jointly promote Ease of Doing Business by signing a MOA to harmonize sea freight and airfreight accreditation. In 2021, the Logistics Services Philippines (LSPH) Project Streamlining was carried out by DTI to identify regulatory constraints in the freight forwarding sector. Among the key findings are the separate and redundant accreditation requirements and processes for sea and air freight forwarders by DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) of DOTr—two agencies mandated to issue licenses to operate.
DTI’s shared objective is to reduce documentary requirements, fees, and processing time and align with the standards set under RA 11032. More importantly, we want to make the accreditation process easy and eliminate steps and repetitive requirements. We start with the streamlining of procedures between the two agencies, but the desired outcome is faster processing by making a single application for both services available online.
Through this collaborative initiative, Secretary Pascual aims to propel the economy to a level that maximizes the country’s resources and helps eradicate poverty, which is one of the main priorities of the Marcos administration.
The MOA Signing Ceremony was also attended by the Logistics Services Philippines (LSPH), an informal aggrupation of private sector associations representing truckers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, customs brokers, warehouse operators, port users, and supply chain professionals.