"Unlicensed couriers in the country have grabbed a big chunk of the market from duly licensed freight companies."
Long-time Filipino delivery firm JRS Express has expressed concern over the proliferation of unlicensed couriers in the country, which have grabbed a big chunk of the market from duly licensed freight companies.
JRS claims that the so-called “colorum” players do not follow industry standards as well as standard operating procedures. “If our government allows colorum couriers to enter our industry, the level of industry will go down. They just came in and operated without regard for the industry,” JRS administrative officer John Paul Claparols said.
During the budget hearings last year, Rep. Lito Atienza made public the proliferation of big-time couriers operating all over the country with no license. These reportedly unlicensed companies include J&T Express, NinjaVan and Entrego.
Before Christmas, the DICT had released a new list of accredited couriers, which did include J&T Express. However, the company’s license to operate is limited to Metro Manila, although J&T is reportedly already operating all over the country. If this is true, how can government issue a license to a company found to have earlier been operating illegally?
As for NinjaVan, its SEC Articles of Incorporation disclose that its primary purpose of doing business in the Philippines is not courier services, but merely providing software applications to smartphones and other devices. Moreover, its papers disclose its 99 percent ownership by a Singaporean national.
Rep. Atienza says that other similar courier companies are also foreign-owned. This would violate the 60-40 rule on ownership of public service, convenience, and logistics companies as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
DICT is the only agency tasked to regulate and control courier services. So far, all it has done is to issue a general warning to the public not to make use of unlicensed couriers. The agency merely called on the general public, retailers, and business establishments to avail of the services of the Philippine Postal Corp. or of private express and messenger delivery service operators authorized by the DICT as listed in its website.
Evidently, the agency should do more. If Atienza’s statements are true, then an investigation into the operations of unlicensed companies may be warranted. This should also look into how they were able to obtain contracts from major online retailers to deliver goods all over the country.
These retailers may need to start worrying about possible issues in dealing with unlicensed couriers. Are they paying the right taxes? What happens if their workers get into accidents? How will grievances or complaints lodged against these courier services be addressed or resolved? This is basic due diligence and risk management in delivering those goods.
* * *
Over on the government side, a lot of promising news lately from where Duterte’s infrastructure boys have also been busy delivering the goods:
The indigenous tribes who’ll be affected by the proposed Kaliwa Dam in Quezon have agreed to go along with the project. There’s only a few thousand of them, so their compensation and resettlement should be fairly easy to handle. Perhaps they took the hint from Duterte’s threat to ignore any TROs that might be issued to block this vitally important, multi-billion peso addition to the wholesale water resources of millions of Metro Manila residents and surrounding provinces.
Up in Baguio, the new mayor and former Army general Benjie Magalong seems bent on taking up San Miguel’s proposal to rehabilitate the long-shuttered Loakan Airport and reopen it as early as this mid-year. He’s also considering a couple of offers to build a cable car system connecting the summer capital to lowland points north and south. Let’s hope that the pretty obvious safety risks are not ignored as the city proceeds to diversify its gateways to visitor traffic.
The issue of safety risks naturally comes up when we consider the endemic problem of corruption in the construction of the country’s infrastructure. Think tank Reid Corporation surveyed the industry and came up with an estimate of 15-35 percent of project costs being lost to corruption. We hope that DTI Secretary Mon Lopez, whose agency oversees the construction industry, will aggressively wade into this issue before we’re hit by some massive disaster caused by contractors having to take shortcuts to make up for payoffs.
The longer-term solution may well have to be something like a 30-year infrastructure master plan for the entire country, to be mandated by law and requiring some minimum amount to be set aside annually for infra. This in fact is what’s been proposed by DMCI chair Sid Consunji, whose father ran DPWTC for several years under President Marcos. If the private sector will be given a meaningful role in this initiative, we may break the feast-or-famine cycle in infrastructure that depends on whoever is sitting in the Palace.
* * *
Today’s reading (1 Sm 1: 9-20) recounts the birth of Samuel, the last of the great judges of Israel, whose lot it became to preside over the end of the period of judges and their replacement by a monarchy to rule Israel, as demanded by the people themselves. The second of those kings, David, established a royal line that culminated in the birth of the Christ Jesus.
In the Gospel (Mk 1: 21-28), Mark writes about how Jesus, following His baptism in the Jordan river as celebrated last Sunday, began to proclaim “the kingdom of God on earth” in the hilly country of Galilee. After collecting the first four of the Disciples, He began His public ministry of preaching and healing in Capernaum, amazing people to no end: “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him!”
Two kings, two beginnings. We greet the first week of Ordinary time in the Church calendar by reflecting on the life of the God-man whose birth gift of gold marked His kingship from David, frankincense His priesthood through Samuel, but myrrh His sacrificial death on the cross, His good gift delivered in turn to us.
Readers can write me at email@example.com.