New PPA chief vows transparency, reforms

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CHANGES will be seen in the state-run Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) within the next 100 days in line with the marching orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.

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PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said the focus will be in the areas of transparency, streamlining of permit processes, and improvement of customer service and safety protocols in passenger terminals.

“The agency should remain very transparent and accessible to the public in accordance with the new work culture being installed by the Duterte administration,” said Santiago in a statement following his formal assumption to the post.

Santiago stressed that under his watch, the public will always be on top of the PPA’s priority. He directed all port personnel to refrain from holding any kind of meeting during office hours to ensure a continuous and speedy delivery of public service.

“Meetings should not get in the way in the course of public service,” he added. “It is not a reason to dispose of any of our clients.”

Santiago said pursuant to the instructions of the President, all transactions and applications will be streamlined and acted upon at the shortest possible time to unburden the public from long queues and other hassles.

“I am also ordering the review of the current permitting processes of the agency and will personally look for ways to further reduce the burden in getting permits from PPA,” he added.

Corollary to that, Santiago has communicated with private sector service providers in all seaports to maintain the quality of their services by fixing all defective facilities and to cut unnecessary expenses that result in higher ticket prices and logistics costs.

“We are trying to rationalize everything that will translate to the convenience of passengers, cargo owners, logistic service providers and all PPA personnel,” he said.

Santiago stressed that the safety of passengers will be given priority by making sure that all safety protocols in passenger terminals are followed to the letter.

“We will audit our safety protocols and safety measures to address security threat in our port facilities particularly in passenger terminals,” he said.

In a press briefing, Santiago also disclosed plans to expand the operations of roll-on roll-off (RoRo) vessels, particularly in areas with large volumes of passengers, to improve inter-island connectivity.

Also part of the plan, he added, is to build world-class cruise ship facilities in key business and tourist areas.

Being eyed for this purpose are major urban centers like Metro Manila, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, the Negros Island Region, and tourist destinations like Bohol, Boracay in Aklan province, Puerto Princesa, and Ilocos provinces, among others.

Prior to his appointment as PPA general manager, Santiago was a senior and managing partner of a law firm specializing in corporate law.

He also served as General Counsel of the government-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

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