By Jovee Marie de la Cruz, September 30 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business Mirror

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has urged  Congress to pass a law regulating freight and courier services in the country, which has now grown to P36 billion.

During a recent hearing at the House of Representatives, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan said Congress should pass a law regulating or institutionalizing freight activities in order to protect customers.

“The issue here, they are not only transporting goods but people, so we want regulatory intervention through legislation first. Then after that, for faster and effective [solutions], we need executive action,” Honasan said.

The DICT’s attention was called to address the proliferation of illegal and unlicensed  foreign couriers that are affecting the income of the legitimate freight companies.

It was Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza who disclosed the growing problem in the industry that is putting the Filipino consumers and their cargo at risk, not to mention the unpaid taxes.

Honasan clarified that the agency’s concern is the fast and reliable connectivity or internet in the country which is being utilized by these freight and courier companies.

He is urging Congress to also strengthen cyber security to ensure more protection for legitimate users.

“We need a new law to institutionalize this,” he added.

Earlier, Atienza sought an in-depth investigation on the foreign syndicates because their effect on local legitimate courier and forwarding companies that pay the right taxes to the government.

Atienza also said there are instances that these couriers are being used illegally.

He said some of these services were found to be violating 60-40 constitutional limits on foreign ownership.

The lawmaker said since they operate as a public service or convenience, logistics companies are supposed to be covered by the 60-40 ownership rule.

Based on reports, the industry is now worth some P36 billion.

Following the reported “colorum” courier services being operated by foreign companies, the House of Representatives and the DICT earlier both agreed to regulate the couriers and freight forwarding services in the country.