The public-private Export Development Council (EDC) is pushing for the passage of amendments to the Cabotage Law and other key economic reform measures in the 16th Congress.
In a statement, EDC Deputy Executive Director Emmarita Mijares said that the Council would submit its list of legislative agenda to Congress this week.
“It has passed through the ExCom [Executive Committee] but there are some specifics that the Council would like us to add not only for the Cabotage [Law] but also for other bills,” she said, without elaborating.
Mijares also said that the nine other bills include the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the Maritime Code, the Foreign Investments Act and amendments to the Philippine Ports Authority Charter, among others.
“We will be actively participating in the public hearings in supporting those bills,” she stressed.
Mijares underscored the importance of amending the Cabotage Law, especially to the export sector. The law prohibits foreign vessels from serving domestic shipment routes.
“It will lower the cost of shipping in the domestic [routes]. Because it has been observed that it is cheaper to ship from Manila to a neighboring Asean country say Singapore, rather than Manila to Davao. We have figures to show that,” she said.
“When the Cabotage Law is amended, there will be more competition and therefore, services will be cheaper, more efficient and more productive,” she added.
During his State of the Nation Address, President Benigno Aquino 3rd proposed to Congress such law and several others that will help the country sustain its growth momentum.
“Let us amend the Cabotage Law in order to foster greater competition and to lower the cost of transportation for our agricultural sector and other industries,” the President said.