THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has ordered the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to finalize the terms of reference (TOR) for the North Harbor and to start its priva-tization process immediately. The order came after several delays in the TOR rollout brought about by contradicting views from the PPA, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry , the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Center and the consultant for the project, Pro-Consult. To be incorporated in the TOR is the provision to equip the three North Harbor ports with the same facilities so they will directly compete. Once the TOR is complete, the PPA said it could start the privatization process within the year or early next year at the latest. The PPA is privatizing the operation and management of the North Harbor to pave the way for much-needed rehabilitation of the port which has been bugged by inefficiency since the 1970s. The port is one of 10 being groomed by the PPA to have world standards by 2010, the others being Batangas, Iloilo, General Santos, South Harbor, Davao, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato and Ozamis. Together, the 10 ports handle about 70% of the country’s foreign and local trade. To date, only terminal 1 of the North Harbor has been built and the remaining two will be built by the winning bidder.