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Reforming the port sector

In its drive to be globally competitive, the government should spare no effort in upgrading the country’s port services and facilities. Among the areas it should take a closer look at are alternative and more efficient modes and routes of sea transport as well as the need to redefine the functions of the port authority.

Time to move on from number coding

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman and Public Works Secretary Bayani Fernando beat me to the draw.

Ever since he instituted the new traffic scheme that is now in force
along EDSA and undertook to sweep the vendors off the sidewalks of
Metro Manila, I had been considering writing a column calling for the
lifting of the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP). But while I was hemming and hawing about it, Mr. Fernando jumped the gun on me and did it, even if only on a trial basis and with Makati City and, later, Mandaluyong City exempted. He is getting flak for it, though.

Power sector reform

In the 1990s, fundamental power sector restructuring swept developing countries around the world. In a workshop held in Bangkok in October 2002, activists from South, Southeast and East Asia shared their country experiences in power reforms.

These are stories with the same plots and progression. They are about increasing the role and power of foreign corporate interest in the provision of a very critical public utility. They start with the
introduction of various schemes for private sector participation in the
early 1990s, such as service contracts, management contracts, concessions and build-operate-transfer (BOT) contracts and their
numerous variants.

Drafting gender-sensitive policies

All over the world, women and men continue to be treated differently at home, at work, and in society at large. Gender inequalities continue to exist and are strongly correlated with poverty in developing countries. As Martha Nussbaum puts it, “When poverty combines with gender inequality, the result is acute failure of central human capabilities.” This picture darkens further when we incorporate vulnerabilities. Poor women with little or no access to social protection are helpless in the face of health crises, economic crises and other risks. The belief that development is a right to which all human beings are entitled makes this failure unacceptable.

The wages of corruption and the corruption of wages

The Gospel according to Luke (10:7) says: “The worker is worth his wage.”

But consider a pair of identical twins who go to the same schools, take the same courses, and end up working in the same company. If one twin is stationed, say, at the London office, he is likely to receive a higher compensation package than his brother who reports to the Manila office – even if they are assigned to the same job cell.

If the Gospel speaks the truth, why are workers who are identical in all things except office affiliation paid differently?

Same old challenges

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recently showed Leonardo Montemayor the door and ushered in Cito Lorenzo as the new secretary of Agriculture. So far, 12 men have served as secretary of Agriculture since 1971. Since EDSA1 in 1986, the average period in service of Agriculture secretaries has been a mere 21 months.