THE House of Representatives has committed to pass a measure to regulate shipping rates to ultimately lower costs for consumers, Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano said.

Mr. Cayetano said the measure will be drafted with major input from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“Local producers who import raw materials are forced to pay these exorbitant shipping fees, which jack up their production costs, and, in the process, result in higher prices for domestic consumers. Ang pinoprotektahan natin dito in the end ay ang ating mga consumers. (In the end we want to protect consumers). This will also help the government improve its tax collection abilities” Mr. Cayetano said in a statement Thursday.

Mr. Cayetano’s advocacies center around the so-called Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program, which focuses on prices, jobs, and earnings. Mr. Cayetano cited the need to pass laws that will have such impacts in the countryside in aid of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s promise to provide a “safe, secure and comfortable life for every Filipino.”

Mr. Cayetano said Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez plans to submit to the House a bill on shipping rates, which the chamber hopes to incorporate with similar pending measures filed with the 18th Congress.

The DTI was planning to issue a Joint Administrative Order, together with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Finance, on the regulation of fees charged by foreign shipping lines, but later decided to ask the President to issue an Executive Order on the matter.

However, the lack of an enabling law covering the regulation of fees imposed by foreign shipping lines prompted the DTI to draft a bill to give more teeth to the measure.

At least two bills are pending in the House seeking to regulate and standardize fees imposed by foreign shipping lines operating in the country.

Rep. Bernadette R. Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon Party List filed House Bill (HB) 4316 which aims to standardize charges at both the origin and destination imposed by international shipping firms.

Meanwhile Ang Probinsyano Partylist Rep. Ronnie L. Ong’s HB 4462 proposes to authorize the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to promote fair and transparent destination fees and other shipping charges collected by freight forwarders and agents of international shipping lines. — Genshen L. Espedido