The Department of Justice - Office for Competition (DOJ-OFC) announced its findings on the transport sector focused in the harbor pilots operating in the country's ports.
The study conducted jointly with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) was done to assess, identify and resolve competition issues in the movement of cargo and goods starting with the ports of entry. It is the result of the 2013 Memorandum of Agreement between the DOJ and PPA.
"The objective is to push for competition reforms. The mandate of the DOJ is to level the playing field, clear conflicts of interest and institute competition reforms for economic justice," said DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima.
Among the major competition-related issues that surfaced are: (1) monopolization of pilotage services due to exclusive privilege granted to harbor pilots association, (2) lack of transparency in harbor pilots' transactions, and (3) non-compliance of harbor pilots with the prescribed rates and services.
A key recommendation was for the liberalization of the pilotage industry.
"Improving efficiency at each step of the supply chain of the goods that pass through our ports will benefit consumers and end-users. Reduced cost of transport will ultimately result to lower prices," said PPA General Manager Juan C. Sta. Ana.
The Philippines is focused on improving indicators in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Report (ranking 108th for 2014 and 95th for 2015) and the Global Competitiveness Index (ranking 59th for 2013-2014 and 52nd for 2014-2015).