The truck ban being imposed by the Manila local government can cause the industrial and export processing zone in the municipality of Rosario, Cavite to lose billions of pesos daily.
This is the gloomy scenario revealed in an interview with The Manila Times by Mayor Jose “Nonong” Ricafrente of Rosario, Cavite, who criticized Manila government’s move to limit the time and places where heavy-duty cargo trucks can ply the streets of the city.
Ricafrente said: “I can’t estimate the exact figures but it’s highly probable that billions of pesos can be lost daily by the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) in Rosario because of this truck ban, and it might even adversely affect the entire province of Cavite.”
He said there were more than 300 corporations within the CEPZ in the town of Rosario, which is included in the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) that spans 275 hectares of land. The records of CEZ show that these companies employed more than 62,000 management and production workers and more than 4,500 others are employed by brokers, banks, security agencies, canteens, sub-contractors and other offices doing business inside the Zone. Over a period of three years since 1999, the CEZ had an average net trade balance of $246 million.
“Cavite has many foreign investors like Koreans, Japanese and others,” Ricafrente added. “Most of them have formed communities here because they have chosen to reside where they are nearer their places of work. As a result, they affect the economy of many business establishments here like restaurants, banks, hotels, residential and commercial houses, gasoline stations, resorts, telecommunications, water and electricity providers, and many others. So, the truck ban which adversely affects the timely transport and scheduling of raw materials needed by the export processing zones and the delivery of their finished products for exports can produce a damaging chain reaction affecting many sectors.”
He noted that the truck ban will also cause many workers to lose their jobs if the profitability of corporations goes down. “There are now some moves here to reduce the number of working days as a cost cutting measure, which means less income for workers who are mostly members of militant labor unions capable of staging strikes, leading to suspension of business or permanent closures. This truck ban can lead to driving away of foreign investors who can easily transfer to other countries,” Ricafrente said. “So, no more revenues for our local government here.”
He suggested that there should first be a thorough study and extensive consultation with the affected parties before any truck ban policy should be implemented as this affects the timely and costly delivery of raw materials and export products, using the ports in Manila.
The members of the Cavite Mayors League said the truck ban has now become a vital issue they must tackle because aside from the CEPZ in Rosario, there is also another big multinational business region here that is bound to be affected—the First Cavite Industrial Estates, a 154.5-hectare industrial subdivision in Dasmariñas City, with more than 100 manufacturing firms, built as a result of a joint venture of the National Development Co.; Marubeni Corp., a giant trading house based in Japan; and the Japan International Development Organization, with “projects contributing to industrial and economic development of developing countries.”