Can Phividec Industrial Authority (PIA) temporarily operate as a seaport cargo-handler upon agreement with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) sans a franchise or a license from Congress or PPA?
Yes. PPA was created for the purpose of, among others, promoting the growth of regional port bodies. In furtherance of this objective, PPA is empowered, after consultation with relevant government agencies, to make port regulations particularly to make rules or regulation for the planning, development, construction, maintenance, control, supervision and management of any port or port district in the country. With this mandate, the decision to bid out cargo-handling services is within the province and discretion of PPA which necessarily required prior study and evaluation. This task is left to the judgment of PPA and cannot be set aside absent grave abuse of discretion on its part. As long as the standards are set in determining the contractor and such standards are reasonable and related to the purpose for which they are used, courts should not inquire into the wisdom of PPA’s choice. x x x [F]ranchises from Congress are not required before each and every public utility may operate because the law has granted certain administrative agencies the power to grant licenses for or to authorize the operation of certain public utilities. (Oroport Cargoholding Services, Inc. vs. Phivdec Industrial Authority, G.R. No. 166785, July 28, 2008, [Quisumbing, J.])