Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, has proposed that government adopts what he called a “supply chain control tower” approach complete with a six-point action agenda to manage the country’s food logistics and challenges and ensure food security.
Pascual, a former academician having served as former president of the University of the Philippines, already presented the DTI 3-year action agenda proposal to the economic development group of the Cabinet.
DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo unveiled the proposed “supply chain control tower” approach during the post State of the Nation Address briefing by the food security cluster of the Cabinet that includes the DTI, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, among others.
Topping the six-point agenda is to revolutionize the Philippine food distribution system from farm to port. This would mean upgrading existing food terminals, and establishment of additional food hubs.
This action agenda calls for piloting the concept of agro industrial business corridors in any of the areas in Baguio and Clark.
The second action agenda is to reduce transport and logistics costs. “We would like to think that this might create a little bit of controversy,” Castelo said as this action agenda calls for a moratorium on pass through fees, a moratorium on the imposition of additional port fees and other charges.
Castelo said this means “zero tolerance on gray costs.” This action agenda calls to regulate high international shipping charges.
While this is a controversial proposal, she stressed that once done, “it’s going to provide us the resource that we want.”
The third proposal is to increase investments in logistics infrastructure and storage.
“Of course, we need budgetary support for logistics infrastructure,” she said adding that DPWH and the DTI are already working on it.
“We want a cold chain integrated with distribution system that is the full implementation of the system that is provided by the Philippine cold chain industry roadmap,”
Fourth is to address other supply chain gaps such as logistics and distribution, post harvest management, market linkages, market information, and market access to finance.
Fifth is to heightened enforcement measures against hoarding, smuggling overstaying of food imports, and monitoring of warehouses or cold storage facilities. “We have already started discussing monitoring of cold storage facilities with the Department of Agriculture,”
This means also revitalizing the sub task group on Economic Intelligence, which has been done in the past and which has actually generated a lot of results. The President may issue an executive order to institutionalize this initiative, she said.
“This task group could reduce a lot of resources and probably help even a bit in preventing, smuggling,” Castelo said.
The last action agenda is to use ICT to improve logistics performance from streamlining and automation of government permits and licenses to the integration of systems within the logistics ecosystem.
All these deliverables require a law through Congress or an executive order to ensure implementation.
If the six-action agenda is approved and legislated by 2026, Castelo said the Philippines would have achieved reduced logistics costs, interoperable transport and logistics related systems. “We will have at least one food hub in any of the high growth areas in Metro Manila or Region 3 or Region 4 and one food terminal upgraded into a Mercato.
Thus, the first task, Castelo stressed, is the approval of this food logistics action agenda.
This should be followed by the issuance of presidential directives, creating an inter agency Committee on Food logistics, and the institutionalization of the Economic Intelligence sub task group and then the consideration of proposed issuances by Congress.
Once done, she said the “supply chain control tower” has been established.