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PPA-Zamboanga - On the wind of change


PPA – Zamboanga plugs development cracks in this region not just large and strong but likewise steadfast. It stands proud on this achievement in the waterfront. Huge spreads of concrete expansion and metal showing vital artery of linkages with other major ports in this country.

The rice people eat, the sugar that sweetens beverages, the electronic device and equpment have transformed ways to do business hereabouts. Oh! Yes, even the fake audio and videodisks as well as the drugs that stalk the schools and streets, all pass through the local port.

For more than three decades, national government have concentrated on the bigger ports in urban centers with huge income in terms of development and improvement to the detriment of the poor rural folks who make up the great bulk of the several million passengers traffic.

Port authority has undergone shift in the past years. It has become a revenue center and joined the rank of government finance institution with stable incomes and gains. It awards bids to firms promising the highest returns for government. This vital concern would in a way maximize returns on the resources invested.

However, the scenario has led to the spiraling transport cost as port operators and cargo handlers pass on the burden to the consumers. The nautical highway scheme of GMA didn’t work well.

The waterfront has never been for the faint hearted. PPA somehow has pushed through with its modernization and privatization program amidst the country’s economy faces so many problems and complexities. It has converted major ports into consortium of cargo handlers by eliminating the cacophony of cries from conflicting interests. A tangible model is the stakeholders in the port of Zamboanga. The state of the port system is not only a factor in determining the rationalization of operations to help business stakeholders maintain and improve profit.

This means expanding the port system by improving and upgrading existing facilities aimed at increasing efficiency in the flow of trade and waterborne commerce. In short, PPA-Zamboanga is now on the wind of change. Hopefully, not turbulent and destructive. 

What’s the future plan of PPA for the port of Zamboanga? Yes, it has cut down on red tape pushed through with computerization. Transactions and payments of charges and fees are being computerized. But sad to state, in the port of Zamboanga there is a need to polish the behavior and perception of the rank and file of the security force, it has hired from private security agency.

In like manner, what other things can be done to help imporve the image of the port of Zamboanga. It is fitting and proper for PPA to pull together in one direction and not going every which way. The port police and the port services division should have one common direction in the eradication of corrupt practices. Bear in mind frineds, “that public office is a public trust.”

The government port in this city is in dire need of having once again a versatile and gutsy port manager not necessarily brilliant and unassuming. Above all, PPA – PMO Zamboanga through its stout-hearted employee union, the PANTALAN, should have a firm and courageous stand to go against the PPA rationalization program and the privatization of the government port of Zamboanga. If this plan push through many employees will lose employment opportunities through force retirement. It violates, needless to say, the constitutional guarantee on tenure of emloyment.

The privatization of the port of Zamboanga with respect to its basic services and some facilities would bring about MONOPOLY. Likewise, disadvantage to port users. It would enhance fat income and profit to the private entrepreneurs. Keep posted, Abangan natin. What PPA has in mind. Godspeed.

Note: This columnist is a former PPA terminal port manager.

By Peryasser Lahaman

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