THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to certify as a permitted activity the transport of industrial chemicals during the election period. 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said in a statement on Tuesday PEZA has been pushing for the issuance of the Certificate of Authority to Transport (CA-TT) by the Comelec to avoid the disruption and shutdown of the operations of manufacturing companies in economic zones.

The certification will permit the transport of regulated chemicals and raw materials covered by the election ban.

“Currently, there are nine PEZA-registered enterprises awaiting the approval of their permit applications, two of which have already shut down since the last week of February. Another two companies (had) used up their chemical supplies on the first week of March,” PEZA said.  

According to Ms. Plaza, PEZA is awaiting the release of the CA-TT permits for the affected locators within its ecozones.

“These concerns have been (conveyed) to Comelec and now, we are waiting for their release of the CA-TT permit,” Ms. Plaza said.  

PEZA said manufacturing companies use chemicals such as sulfur powder, nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and potassium permanganate. These chemicals are regulated by the Philippine National Police-Firearms and Explosives Office (PNP-FEO).

“While the use, importation, transport, or manufacture of these chemicals are covered by PNP-FEO permits, the Comelec issues a resolution every election period requiring duplicate permits through the Committee on Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC),” PEZA said.

On March 16, Ms. Plaza met with Comelec Chairman Saidamen B. Pangarungan, asking for assistance in securing the exemption of PEZA-registered enterprises from the election ban.

She added that PEZA also asked the Comelec for the disbursement of public funds for public works and infrastructure projects in government ecozones which had been procured by public bidding during the election period.

“Based on PNP-FEO records, manufacturers using regulated chemicals only form a small fraction of permit applicants during the election period compared to the gun or ammunition applications,” Ms. Plaza said.

“We are also working with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Anti-Red Tape Authority to support our appeal to Comelec to hasten the release of CA-TT permit,” she added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave