AUGUST 26, 2009
(STAR) HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes - Election spending is happening much, much earlier than expected.

In the case of GMA Network, more than P150 million has already spent during the first half of 2009 alone for so-called “political advocacies.”

It was learned that around 30 to 40 percent of the amount generated by GMA Network from “political advocacies” came from Senator Manny Villar, followed by Mar Roxas.

What is interesting to note, one GMA executive pointed out, is the fact that the spending came very early and that now, there are more potential candidates that are using the boobtube to make their “advocacies” known early on.

If in the previous election, GMA Network made P500 million from “political advocacies” as well as political advertisements, the broadcasting company expects election-related spending on television to be much higher going into next year’s elections.

Spurring economic activity

The present state North Harbor Tondo presents a horrifying image of stinky decrepit port devoid of any semblance or benefit of the modern age, observers have noted.

They say it is the perfect picture of a Third World Country: you find everything that is trash and find nothing that is worth remembering. Vendors hawking merchandise everywhere. Con-artists trying to trick a poor “probinsyano” into parting with his hard earned money. Confused passengers. Chaotic traffic. Even more chaotic cargo handling. Dilapidated, condemned buildings. Generally a system of utter chaos-this is North Harbor at its present glum state.

Modernization seeks to throw this North Harbor’s image into oblivion.

Modernization offers direction- a direction away from poverty, from chaos, from the Third World mentality and culture. It opens new doors to a better way of life, fresh opportunities for the redevelopment of a damaged culture and a sustained positive view for the future.

Modernization is putting the Philippines’ best foot forward towards global competitiveness.

In concrete terms, modernization shall bring world-class port facilities and services, sustained inflow of investments, both in the port business and associated businesses such as logistics, trucking, ship building etc.

It also promises to be bring about seamless domestic trade connections to Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, which should spur economic development in the countryside, particularly for the agricultural sector.

And of course, the country would immensely benefit from service reliability and safe operations for goods, employees, and environment, as well as tightened security around the port to curb if not eliminate crime.

Modernization would definitely bring in investments in technology to cut or eliminate bureaucratic procedures.

In the case of the modernization of the Manila North Harbor which will be undertaken by the consortium of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Harbour Centre, the planned P14.5-billion investment would promise sustained employment for over 5,000 direct and 20,000 indirect workers within and without the area, which is no small feat for a place like Tondo. The revitalization of the port area will bring in robust economic activities, not your simple vendors and hawkers.

It is also expected that the commercial value of peripheral real property in the area will increase.

The role of the port system, as well as increased productivity and efficiency in port services, has been severely undermined. Transportation accounts for a big bulk of the cost of goods. They always say that it is cheaper to bring in corn from Thailand to the Philippines that to ship it from Davao to Manila. Imagine the downstream effects of an improved port system on the cost of goods.

The beneficiary of modernization is not the winning bidder nor the Philippine Ports Authority, which does not have the funds to modernize our dilapidated ports.

The beneficiaries are the port users who see North Harbor as the entry or exit point of people or cargoes to and from Manila. They do not have to contend anymore with chaos and despair. Simplicity, efficiency and order will be their everyday luxury in North Harbor.

The beneficiaries are the workers and businessmen, as modernization shall bring sustained business activities unseen in the Tondo area since time immemorial.

Ultimately, the beneficiary is the Filipino people as they will now a have a port that is worthy of world-recognition- one that symbolizes their desire for change and their success in achieving it.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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