PCCI to government: Ensure food security, cut power cost


The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has called on the national government to put in place the necessary measures that would ensure the country’s food security and make power affordable.

PCCI forwarded a set of resolutions to the national government which also pushed for the grant of financial access to small merchants and to enhance the production capacity of Filipinos to reduce the country’s reliance on imports.

During the 49th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E), the annual business conference organized by the top business group in the country, PCCI presented on October 26 the 49-page copy which contains resolutions in the areas of Agriculture; Energy and Power, Environment and Climate Change; Education and Human Resources Development; Industry and Trade; Ease of Doing Business and Stability of Rules and Regulations; Infrastructure, Transport, and Logistics; Innovation and Digitalization; Taxation, and Tourism.

Under the agriculture pillar, the business group is urging the National Government to “develop a long-term plan to attain food security through infrastructure support, technology transfer, product diversification, export enhancement, economies of scale, and adhering to the improvement of value chains and supply chains.”

In providing infrastructure support for the agriculture sector, PCCI said the government should improve the agriculture supply chain system through efficient logistics and transportation. Among the actions needed to be done, it noted, is to “ensure and prioritize provision for post-harvest facilities across all sectors to increase supply chain efficiencies.”

The PCCI also urged the government to implement Section 13 of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) which mandated the set up of a national information network to establish a market information system for the Department of Agriculture.

In providing access to finance, the business group pointed out the need to “formulate and implement a strategy to compel the banks to adhere to their mandate under Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009” to lend to smallholders and fisherfolks.

“This includes the development strategies and programs for the farmers whose loans were condoned,” the business group said.

To intensify the country’s exports, PCCI urged the DA and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to negotiate free trade agreements with the aim of zero tariff for all the country’s agricultural exports.

Stable power supply

In terms of ensuring “adequate and affordable” power supply throughout the country, the business group is urging the government to harness renewable energy resources that meet criteria of reliability and affordability.

“For the [Department of Energy] DOE to ensure the Transmission Plans declared over the years to connect all three Philippine Islands to one National Grid be finally delivered and fully electrified and that new plans for capacity expansion and Renewable Energy (RE) technologies be accommodated to address power needs and audited to confirm adequate planning, resources, and performance has been done to ensure timely delivery, without delays,” the PCCI said.

PCCI is also urging the government to provide industries and enterprises with the “necessary” tools, resources, and support programs to enhance their competitiveness, both in the domestic and international markets, contribute to economic growth, and promote innovation in the Philippines’s industrial and trade sectors.

In supporting local businesses, PCCI said the government should zero in on allocating additional financial resources.

Meanwhile, the group said the government should also support local small merchants by streamlining bureaucratic processes and reducing regulatory burdens.

For regulated goods, PCCI called on the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to reduce delays, streamline processes, and address the backlog in issuing Importer Clearance Certificates (ICCs).

Under the education pillar, PCCI urged the national government to propel the Philippine education system to “world-class” status by harnessing new technologies, fostering innovation, and implementing comprehensive reforms that will prepare students for success in the digital age and the globalized world of work.

Ease of doing business

PCCI asked the government to provide a “stable and predictable” business environment.

In particular, the business group urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to review its policies on the “frequency of audits and documentary requirements of audits (LOAs) for business closures and to provide amnesty for long-time open cases.

“Resolve to further urge the BIR to have a regular dialogue between the local/regional BIR offices and the PCCI Local Chambers,” the resolution read.

Logistics master plan

PCCI said the national government should implement a “comprehensive” national infrastructure, transportation and logistics master plan that outlines a long-term vision for connectivity and countrywide development. The group said there is a need to rationalize port fees.

The group prodded Congress to enact the International Maritime Trade Competitiveness Act “to strengthen government oversight over local charges imposed by international shipping lines.”

The top business group in the country asked the government to focus on “underserved” regional and provincial container terminal hubs closest to growing domestic trade markets to address logistics bottlenecks and ensure “further containerization and the attraction of direct international business.”

Image credits: Nonie Reyes