Pasay City – In hopes to avert operation shutdowns of manufacturing companies inside the ecozones due to lack of access to regulated chemicals and raw materials covered by election ban, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) actively pushes on the immediate issuance of the Certificate of Authority to Transport (CA-TT) by the Commission on Election (COMELEC) to its registered enterprises.
PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza expressed, “We hear the pleas and concerns of our affected locators who have already closed down or on the verge of ceasing their operations. We have also received reports from our locators that their request for the approval to transport chemicals have been denied by COMELEC. These concerns have been reached out to COMELEC and now, we are waiting for their release of the CA-TT permit.”
According to Director General, “Our locators who are using regulated chemicals have a good track record as a manufacturer and exporter since the start of their [respective] operations and have never been involved in any election-related violence. With this, we sincerely hope for COMELEC to review the CA-TT application process especially in our ecozones so that transport of regulated chemicals will not stop nor be delayed during the election period.”
Manufacturing companies registered to PEZA use chemicals in their operations and is regulated by the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office (PNP-FEO). Such chemicals are sulfur powder, nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and potassium permanganate among others.
While the use, importation, transport, or manufacture of these chemicals are already covered by PNP-FEO permits, the COMELEC issues a resolution every election period requiring duplicate permits through the Committee on Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC).
Support from COMELEC, DTI, and ARTA
Last 16 March, PEZA Chief Plaza met with the newly appointed COMELEC Chairman Saidamen Balt Pangarungan and shared that, “we requested for the COMELEC’s assistance in securing the exemption of PEZA-registered enterprises from the ban election. In addition, PEZA also requested about the disbursement of public fund or construction of public works, and infrastructure projects in PEZA’s public ecozones procured by public bidding during the election period.”
“Based on PNP-FEO records, manufacturers using regulated chemicals only form a small fraction of permit applicants during the election period compared to the gun or ammunition applications,” the Director General added.
Plaza also noted, “We are also working with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to support our appeal to COMELEC to hasten the release of CA-TT permit.”
As the PEZA Board Chairman, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez backs up PEZA and its locators in this concern, the PEZA Director General Plaza shared that, “In my [recent] meeting with COMELEC Chairman Pangarungan, he has expressed his firm support in addressing the competitiveness issues faced by manufacturers and buyers of regulated chemicals. He also vowed to establish a transparent and expeditious processing of CA-TTs.”
Currently, there are nine (9) PEZA-registered enterprises awaiting the approval of their permit applications, two (2) of which have already shutdown since the last week of February and another two (2) companies who have already used up their chemical supplies on the first week of March. #