CHIZ PRESSES FOR SENATE
PROBE OF PORT CONGESTION
Senator Chiz Escudero asked the Senate Committees on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Economic Affairs, and the Ways and Means to probe the congestion in the two major ports in the country which is hurting the flow of goods going in and out of the Philippines.
Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has filed Senate Resolution Number 808 urging the three committees to look into worsening congestion in the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and the Port of Manila in order to prevent a potential crisis that will only defeat the country’s economic gains.
“This is already a nagging issue that if left unabated would hurt the gains of the country’s economy. It will hurt us bad since there is already that glaring truth triggering an economic crisis,” Escudero said.
The city of Manila decreed a daytime truck ban to decongest the monstrous traffic jams in the city. Following the truck ban, empty container vans owned by shipping lines occupied 50 percent of the container yards, which caused the congestion.
Many local and international vessels are unable to dock and unload their cargoes in the MICP and the Port of Manila, prompting major shipping lines to boycott the city ports due to lack of berthing spaces.
“It is time for the Senate to step in to abate this looming crisis. It is already causing us economic backlash at costs we cannot afford. Look at the spoilage of perishable goods, the unavailability of raw materials, business loses in the import and export industries, and idled factories. These are more than enough to clog the wheels of our economic engine,” the senator said.
Escudero said the country, as an import dependent nation, cannot afford long shortage of supplies and consumer goods. He added that Philippine export becomes highly incompetent because of the sluggish shipment of goods that can no longer meet on time the demands abroad.
The senator said even exporters from Cebu are also complaining about the same problem of port congestion in the Cebu International Port (CIP) that is costing traders around $15,000.00 per shipment delay.
“We would like the Senate to take the appropriate action to find an institutionalized solution to prevent this continuing economic crisis,” Escudero said.
OFWS IN LIBYA
URGE TO COME HOME
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay appealed to relatives of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Libya to help convince their family members to come home given the worsening conditions there.
The Vice President also assured OFWs of assistance once they return to the Philippines.
“Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has a reintegration program for those who will come home. Members may avail of livelihood assistance and other benefits,” he added.
Filipinos in Libya can contact the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli to coordinate their repatriation. Binay said the Philippine government will shoulder their repatriation cost.
So far, only 831 of the estimated 13,000 Filipinos working in Libya have returned home despite the government announcing a mandatory evacuation of OFWs last month.
The DFA has also reported that safe routes for exiting the North African country have narrowed, leaving rescue by sea as the viable option.
Earlier, a Filipino construction worker was beheaded after being abducted by unknown suspects. Gang rape followed the killing of a Filipina nurse in the capital Tripoli.
RESUMPTION OF PEACE TALKS WITH REDS
Jejomar C. Binay is optimistic the release of four policemen abducted by the New People’s Army after a raid on a police station in Agusan del Norte will lead to a resumption of stalled peace negotiations.
Binay described it as a “good gesture,” and broached the possibility of peace talks between government and the National Democratic Front gaining ground.
“It paved the way for the continuation of the peace talks,” Binay said.
Binay was also asked by local reporters in Butuan City if he is willing to go to Kitcharao where the rebels released the policemen. “I’m used to it”, he replied.
He was in the city to award land titles to residents who were able to fully pay their obligations under the Community Mortgage Program of the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation.
Binay also inaugurated the Senior Citizens Centers across Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur last week.
He also inaugurated the National Housing Authority Talacogon Tribal Village in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur./MP