POSTSCRIPT / July 13, 2004 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Subic-Clark corridor to wake up Luzon giant

CLARK FIELD: Pardon my jaundiced eye, but among the items on the 10-point agenda of President Arroyo that caught my attention is the physical linking of Subic Bay, Clark Field and Tarlac into a major transshipment hub.

The rich land-locked plain of Luzon will finally have access to the sea and world commerce. With that and with more infrastructure coming, we can expect full-scale development for the region.

Central Luzon has two world-class infrastructure, the Subic Port Terminal and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, that are not found in any other region. They would be costly and hard to replicate elsewhere.

A dedicated four-lane superhighway is being built to link Subic and Clark. Soon we would see goods being unloaded at Subic, zipped to Clark and other Luzon factory sites, and the finished products being moved back to Subic for shipping out.

Transshipment in such velocity and volumes is not possible with just the North Luzon Expressway linking Manila port and the economic zones in Luzon. The Subic-Clark-Tarlac connection will solve that problem.

It will also help decongest Metro Manila, another goal in the 10-point agenda of the President.

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FUNDS AVAILABLE: There is money for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac project. The region already boasts of billions of pesos in investments. In addition, big loans are waiting to be tapped.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation, for one, has approved a Y41.93-billion soft loan for it. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority itself has been given another Y16.45-billion loan by the JBIC to upgrade its port facilities to be able to handle 900,000 20-foot equivalent units.

During the past 10 years, about P4 billion has been allocated to the DMIA in the Clark Special Economic Zone to make it a regional transshipment hub. The airport will become also the new passenger terminal for the new economic corridor.

Clark’s central role in the manufacture, storage, and movement of goods will open a horde of employment opportunities not just for industry but also for agriculture and services.

This ties up neatly with another item on the 10-point agenda focused on the creation of some six to 10 million jobs in six years.

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BEST MANAGER: The expected fast-tracked development of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac corridor raises the question of who should manage the component ecozones and the entire corridor.

While appointing a professional or technocrat to an ecozone, like Subic for instance, may have its merits, I think that a more effective executive is one who has the managerial skills, political clout and a stake in the enterprise.

A professional politician without solid business background will not do, but a technocrat whose only concern is the bottom line will not fit either.

One who has political clout and a constituency stake in SBMA has a better chance of defending his ground against harassment. Aside from being a good manager with broad business experience, he must also be an astute politician who can read the local terrain and navigate the political shoals.

We have to be realistic. Unlike in private corporations, the stakeholders in SBMA are not only the stockholders, investors and employees, but also the surrounding local governments and communities, including politicians of the area.

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COSTS CAN KILL: Many people have lingering doubts about the efficacy and side-effects of synthetic medicine or drugs concocted from a combination of chemicals. Without knowing the risks, some patients take drugs that actually poison the body.

Others are not only leery, but are scared stiff of surgery. Each time a person is opened up, they cry, at least five years of his life is taken away.

Sometimes, one surgical procedure leads to another, making it more difficult for the patient — and the pocket of his family — to recover.

Part of the problem is the cost of confinement and professional services, which rises in proportion to the reputation of the hospital, the type of room, the patient’s perceived capacity to pay, and the appetite of the doctor for money.

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EAT WELL, LIVE WELL: We have heard of many desperate Filipinos taking to natural healing, the use of medicinal herbs and other unusual routes to recovery from some supposedly incurable disease.

Some proven cures involved merely the cleansing of the body’s systems, a return to the right diet suited for the human body, and the taking of natural and herbal supplements to remove undesirable growths and strengthen the body immune system.

These are not a cure-all, of course, but they have been found to be of great help to the healing process. Sometimes they are even the determinant of whether or not a long-suffering patient, given up as a terminal case, would recover.

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HEALTH TIPS ON LINE: It was in this spirit that we picked up days ago some radical health notes that we read in a Yahoo group email with consuming interest.

Serializing the health tips in POSTSCRIPT, we found ourselves swamped daily with email asking for the complete report on the tips given by one Dr. Yasuy Moralla, whose work is described briefly in the website mentioned below.

Many of the readers asking for her health advice are presumably among those who have grown leery of synthetic medicine, surgery and hospitalization. Or they may be plain health-conscious and concerned for themselves and their loved ones.

Since those who email their requests presumably have Internet connection, we have uploaded the complete Moralla health notes in our website for easy access.

Those interested can visit our ManilaMail site. Once the home page opens, you cannot miss the link, standing out in red, to the health page inside. Left click the red link.

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MORE TIPS: Btw, since we are no authority on the subject and have no personal experience to validate the health tips, our publishing them should not be taken as an endorsement or a warranty of their truth or efficacy.

With that caveat, we continue here for those who have no Internet connection the health notes culled from the Moralla lectures:

* Prolonged cooking of meat makes it less digestible, no matter how soft it may become. The result? It becomes putrified, dead matter in the intestines. The meat is then just as good as toxins. And since it does not get digested, it just gets ‘stuck’ in the intestines. That’s why we get constipated after eating too much meat.

* Ever wonder what the putrified dead matter looks like? That’s the smelly, black-spotted (almost mud-like) poo-poo that we get after drinking herbal slimming teas. Just imagine how many years we’ve been cooking meat this way, and even more, what our 26-32 feet of intestines may look like today!

* Dr. Yasuy is not really suggesting that we all turn vegetarian (although it is undoubtedly the best form of diet).

* The best way to cook beef is rare to medium-rare. It’s still in its simple form that way, and therefore can become digested efficiently. Well-done steaks only turn into toxic, putrified dead matter in the intestines. But actually, the simplest (and best) form of food is in its raw form. But since bacteria love to live on meat, we have to raise its temperature (but just enough to kill the bacteria).

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 13, 2004)

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