MARIVELES, Bataan- A top official of the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) on Thursday expressed fear that a prolonged truck ban in Manila may cause reduction in export value and work stoppage in more than 50 locators in Mariveles town.
Lawyer Deogracias Custodio, FAB chairman, said that with the truck ban they have noticed reductions of 30 percent and 20% in incoming and outgoing trucks, respectively. “We also see a projected monthly decrease in export value in the amount of US$153,000,” he said.
The chairman said the truck ban will have a heavy toll on over 17,000 workers in more than 50 multi-national firms in the former Bataan Export Processing Zone- turned Bataan Economic Zone.
“Any prolonged effect we may suffer may result in work stoppage that may possibly cause layoffs that we want to prevent,” Custodio said.
He foresees slowdown in production and the growth in exports they are experiencing greatly reduced.
All FAB locators are into manufacturing that make use of the ports in Manila. The chairman said he was informed by the head of the locator’s association that one firm has not received its incoming shipment.
“If this continues, this may result in work stoppage,” he said.
Custodio said Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has obviously a point and admirable in the desire to help his constituents. He said that indeed the traffic congestion in the metropolis is so heavy.
“Kaya lang baka hindi nakikita ang big economic impact ng truck ban. It has widespread effect on investors and the workers. Let us work together, sit down as soon as possible to find a workable solution,” the FAB head asked the former President.
Custodio said they are studying the possibility of establishing barging operation that will pass through Manila Bay from the Manila ports to the Mariveles harbor. He said that this will cut the cost of transporting by half from the P18,000 paid to a container van one way from Mariveles to Manila.
As to the use of the containerized port in the Subic Freeport, he said that locators find it not reliable due to the frequency in ship calls.