• UBERloaded by the GRABity of public transport woes



    No one can dispute that aside from taxpayers and the unemployed, commuters and motorists are the most marginalized sectors in our society.

    LTFRB, LTO and MMDA seem to connive to add more burdens to their weakening and almost disjointed shoulders.

    Backlog in car plates and stickers, promissory-type driver licenses, clogged major and minor arteries, intermittent mass transport system, profit-oriented operators, wayward buses, taxis, motorcycles, disappearing yellow lanes, uncoordinated public works repairs and “prepaid and postpaid” traffic cops and enforcers seem to be institutionalized “street terrorism” in our lives.

    U-turns, number coding, no window policy are temporary solutions that became permanent. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel flickered faintly as the tunnel grows longer everyday.

    More and more hardline policies are being implemented by the above-mentioned triumvirate “to regulate and control” the already suffering victims of road discomforts.

    Amid the asphalt jungle came Uber and Grab that offered a better alternative to commuters and car owners alike. Of course, our “master of the universe” LTFRB officials will not let this go unchallenged. Uber and Grab riding in tandem are much like “storm surges” threatening to wipe out the invincible traditional modes of transport.

    A slice of the market threatens the coffers of the greedy operators and co-conspirators wearing barongs. They have to check violations and come up with more stringent requirements to ply the roads while playing dumb to the sins of the traditionals.

    I agree that Uber and Grab should operate within the bounds of our laws but can’t these agencies formulate innovations in their IRRs that will not inconvenience the riding public while the requirements are being fulfilled?

    LTFRB professionals (if they are such) should be made aware that these alternative modes became popular because they cannot even police the arrogance of regular taxis, much more guarantee the safety and comfort of their passengers.

    If the law has to be amended, so be it. The agency should warn taxi operators and their drivers to adhere to the standards of Uber and Grab or be punished by immediate revocation of their franchises. Grant them a transition or phase-out period.

    Fare is not the issue here. The public is willing to pay for trust, safety and comfort. LTFRB executives should ride the two existing systems to really know the difference. Even private car owners can discard frequent use of their cars if given an efficient alternative as an option.

    * * *

    The Ombudsman recommending charges against Noynoy Aquino on Mamasapano can be summarized as: “Failed to file then, then filed to fail now.”

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    Many were surprised to know that the Inquirer group has confirmed talking to San Miguel’s Ramon S. Ang for a possible sale. I can only think of reasons a Mile Long. I just wonder what the taste is like when a donut is dipped into a mug of pale pilsen.

    * * *

    MVP open to selling minority stake in Inquirer. This is a bit of good news to some who are afraid of alleged Indonesian intrusion into the local media scene. One should ‘inquire’ why.

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    Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) honorary chairman Donald Dee said that the chamber supports extending martial law in the south. The business sector thinks that total stability is the key and not an incomplete or an aborted mission.

    * * *

    Former President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday said he is prepared to go to jail following the criminal charges ordered filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman. It makes us quite nervous when a statement like this is released. It reminds us of his promise to lie down on the MRT’s rails with Abaya if mass transport is not improved.

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    Duterte wants to ban portraits of himself and of other officials from government offices. He wants portraits of national heroes instead. We are sure that he is not talking about Ninoy or Cory.

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    Extending martial law in Mindanao to dampen investor sentiment – FVR. Unfinished business may be more scary than the extension. His view may not sit well with Mindanaoans who want a Maute-free environment.

    * * *

    An anti-SONA rally will be held on Monday after members of progressive groups and President Rodrigo Duterte failed to reach an agreement on several pressing issues, including the release of political prisoners, an end to contractualization, and lifting martial law in Mindanao. PRRD gave them the green light to do so. Trick or threat?

    * * *

    SC orders Maute trial transfer to Taguig for security reasons. We just don’t know if we are just transferring the problem.

    * * *

    Three SC magistrates inhibit from Ilocos Norte detention case. The three are Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, to whom the case was assigned, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, and newly appointed Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr. They have the right to do so but we have the right to ask why.

    * * *

    A delegation from the European Union (EU) Parliament is also on a visit to supposedly check on the “political and human rights” situation in the country under Mr. Duterte.

    The EU parliament’s sub-committee on human rights sent four members as part of a delegation on a four-day visit to the country. Expletives and curses are being prepared right now to welcome them.

    * * *

    Aquino said he was surprised by the indictment because graft and usurpation of authority weren’t included in the complaint he responded to last January.

    That complaint, filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), sought to charge him with 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.

    You are not alone, Mr. BSA 3rd. The families of the victims were just as surprised by the downgrade.

    Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.


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