18 JANUARY 2023, MANILA — Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Santiago explained that Trusted Operator Program- Container Registry and Monitoring System (TOP-CRMS) will bring huge benefit against high unregulated charges in logistics costs such as container deposit and missing empty containers.

According to PPA General Manager Jay Santiago "For as long as somebody is complaining, government has to come in and government has to address what is being complained of... Government's purpose is to make sure that everything is fair. We try to make sure that the playing field is fair... That's why we need to introduce regulations [TOP- CRMS]."

Under TOP-CRMS, only container deposit insurance and monitoring fee worth PHP 980 and PHP 3,408 empty container handling service fee must be paid by importers compared to almost PHP 30,000 container deposit in the current existing system.

"That is why we are working on ways to lower the incremental cost of transacting in the logistics chain and we are doing that, in our belief that the more we make the operations efficient, the more that we make it transparent, the more that we shorten the transaction process, our fellowmen will spend less," GM Santiago added.

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) through its President, Mary Zapata expressed positive response regarding the implementation of TOP-CRMS during the Truckers Summit held on January 16, 2023.

"If that really happens that there will be relief in the operation, there will be a reduction in costs, well what we are saying that this is against with the ease of doing business, if we can enter the port faster, we can exit quickly, we can quickly return, we can do another trip, I think that's when we can refute what is said to be a hindrance to the ease of doing business," according to Zapata.

According to GM Santiago, two-way communication is the solution to aptly explain to those who oppose TOP-CRMS its importance especially in current digitalization age.

"We are continually doing dialogues with stakeholders and I believe it's a matter of continuing dialogue… there were plenty of inputs and changes since the implementing operational guidelines came from the inputs of the stakeholders" emphasized GM Santiago.

TOP-CRMS is part of PPA’s initiative in accordance with the directive of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to implement digitalization in government transactions for provision of better service to the public.