Group seeks review of controlled chemicals transport during elections

THE Samahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Industriyang Kimika (SPIK) has requested the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to review the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban during elections, calling for the exemption of Philippine National Police (PNP)-controlled chemicals from the policy.

SPIK in a position paper received by ARTA last month asked the anti-bureaucracy agency to review Comelec Resolution No. 10197, noting the gun ban resolution "had inadvertently affected adversely the chemical supply chain of the country as the transport of goods and services [was] hampered."

The group is seeking to exclude PNP-controlled chemicals, including nitrocellulose, a known ingredient or raw material in the manufacture of lacquer paints, and consumer products containing these chemicals. SPIK pointed out that these chemicals are "already covered by the permitting/licensing requirements of the Philippine National Police."

SPIK recalled that inclusion of PNP-controlled chemicals in the gun ban led to millions of pesos in financial losses, additional costs, and opportunities lost for the chemical industry during the 2018 barangay elections.

It said during election period, chemical companies had to pay millions of pesos in demurrage and customs storage fees because shipments could not be withdrawn. Their manufacturer clients had to scale down or stop production altogether because of lack of raw materials, while the trucking industry saw their trips cut down drastically due to smaller volumes of raw materials and finished products to deliver.

To avoid such losses and extra costs, SPIK urged ARTA to "take into consideration the exclusion of the 32 already regulated PNP Controlled Chemicals in the COMELEC Gun Ban."

SPIK continued: "Adding another layer of regulations to existing regulations could be a violation of the objectives of Republic Act No. 11032 otherwise known as the 'Ease of Doing Business Law.'"

It also observed the proliferation of unlicensed firearms in the hands of criminals is the main problem during elections, and to include PNP-controlled chemicals "affects the third largest manufacturing sector which is the Chemical Industry in just a short duration" resulting in "financial and opportunity losses (running) up to millions of pesos on a daily basis.


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