POSTSCRIPT / October 13, 2013 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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A modern port rises at old North Harbor

MODERN PORT: Here is good news for Manilans, and all Filipinos for that matter, who do not go to the bustling North Harbor in Tondo except to fetch an occasional friend or relative who has taken the ship to the city.

The modernized harbor now goes by the name of Manila North Port. Its new world-class passenger terminal was launched last Wednesday by its operator, the Manila North Harbour Port Inc.

The complex can now handle two million passengers annually, twice the capacity of the old North Harbor terminal. Modern cargo handling equipment and fully computerized facilities make for heightened efficiency.

Dr. Michael L. Romero, MNHPI chairman, says: “In fulfillment of the mandate set for us by the Philippine Ports Authority, we are proud to have built this dream facility of international standards (that) spells a great difference on the travel experience of Filipinos.”

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GLASS & GRANITE: Filipino inter-island passengers are likely to have an unforgettable experience just from their transit at the new seaport at Pier 4 that compares with the best abroad. Maximum passenger security and comfort have been given prime attention.

The design of the building has a modern feel with the heavy use of glass and aluminum cladding. Granite is used in the lower exterior walls as an accent and for easy maintenance. The passenger lounge and arrival areas are designed with high ceilings and glass windows to give an air of being spacious.

The main passenger terminal sits on a 4,600-square-meter area, while the space for ticketing, concessions, and shipping line offices is 1,300 sqm. The parking area is an ample 2,000 sqm.

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INTEGRATED LINKS: Modernization of North Harbor, completed ahead of schedule, is best appreciated in the context of the overall plan to link it to transport arteries servicing various Luzon regions so as to maximize its value.

President Noynoy Aquino recently approved the construction of the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road and the extension of the LRT-2 line from Recto Ave. in Manila to North Harbor.

Malacañang has approved the P26-billion connector road of SMC’s Citra Central Expressway Corp. under the Metro Manila Skyway stage-3 project. The government, through Philippine National Construction Corp., is finalizing its joint venture with MPIC for its version of a P23-billion connector road.

The Department of Transportation and Communication is now in the post-qualification of the bids for the P350-million feasibility study for the 4.14-kilometer extension of the LRT-2. The project involves the eastward extension from the existing Santolan station at Marcos Highway, to terminate at the intersection of Marcos Highway and Sumulong Highway in Antipolo City.

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AMENITIES GALORE: The ground floor of the North Harbor main building, devoted to departing and arriving passengers, has a spacious drop-off area with porters and push carts on the ready. Passengers and their luggage pass through five X-ray machines.

The passenger lounge has 1,875 seats. Amenities on the ground floor include a clinic, kids’ play room, non-denomination prayer room, smoking room and isolation room for special passengers. Comfort facilities for male, female and persons with disability are provided on both sides of the building. Nearby are concessionaires and refreshment areas.

The arrival area on the south-side portion of the building has public comfort facilities and a baggage claim area. Sloped ramps are provided to help in passenger movement to and from the ships. There is also a well-wishers and greeters area.

Watching over the facility is Catena Security Inc., an affiliate of G4S-United Kingdom, an international security solutions provider at work in over 125 countries.

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BACK TO TAP: The domestic bottled and purified water industry, meanwhile, must innovate if it wants to overcome, or survive, the challenge to its viability of a plan by the local Catholic Church to mount a “back to tap water” advocacy.

The “budding” idea was disclosed Friday by Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, explaining it as a major component of the overall pro-environment advocacy that the church intends to pursue beginning this year.

It intends to encourage Filipinos to return to tap water and avoid or reduce consumption of bottled water, David said as he explained the church’s desire to help reduce the degradation of the environment and achieve an affordable cost of living for the masses.

The prelate was guest at the weekly Balitaan breakfast forum of the Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI) at its Bale Balita (House of News) headquarters at the Clark Freeport.

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WASTE MANAGEMENT: Bishop David’s group is pursuing other ecological advocacies, one major concern being the proper collection, recycling and disposal of solid wastes via the establishment of material recovery facilities in the 19 towns and three cities of Pampanga.

The group also seeks the education of the people and their motivation to get involved in the preservation of water sources through reforestation and other pro-environment measures.

David said they plan to touch base first with Pampanga’s local water districts and convince them to ensure that the water they deliver via their piping networks “is really potable and bereft of harmful bacteria.”

The availability of potable tap water would encourage consumers to drastically reduce, if not totally stop, drinking bottled or the now popular “purified” water, he said. If successful, the experiment could be replicated in other parishes nationwide.

In 2008, worldwide consumption of bottled water hit 53 billion gallons, marking a sharp increase from previous year’s figures. Between 1997 and 2005, consumption more than doubled, the primary reason being that bottled water is sometimes the only safe drinking water available.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 13, 2013)

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