Mark Lorenzana

Commentary, Philippine Politics, Rants, Short Note

Throwback: On the Grab, Uber, and LTFRB Controversy

Mark Lorenzana

Three years ago there was a controversy between the two main ride-hailing services in the Philippines—Grab and Uber—and the Philippines’ Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). You can read all about it here.

So in response, I wrote this:

[tl;dr] This Uber/Grab brouhaha has at least successfully put a spotlight on the big problem of public transportation in the Philippines. In Manila there’s this train system that was screwed up to begin with and which was screwed up even more during PNoy’s time by Abaya and Roxas, which Duterte doesn’t seem to want to fix, what with his fixation on this drug war and the Marawi crisis and whatever seems to keep him busy these days (or maybe it’s not his job, who knows?). In Cebu the highways are so narrow that putting up a train system similar to the one in Manila is going to be a challenge, if not virtually impossible, so people rely on jeepneys and now even this so-called MyBus that goes from one SM mall to another, and which is owned by billionaire Henry Sy (who, by the way [yes, you guessed it!] owns the SM malls himself), which again shoves in our faces the fact that public transportation that should be a PUBLIC SERVICE is done for PROFIT, for profit of big corporations (kind of what Uber and Grab are, when you think about it). So what happens is that those who can afford to buy cars and SUVs do so (making the traffic problem even worse, because, whether we like to admit it or not, there are just too many private vehicles on the streets already), those who can’t buy cars but can afford to take Uber/Grab do so, those who don’t have smart phones or can’t afford Uber/Grab but can afford to take taxis do so, and meanwhile the poor who can’t afford any of these live a life of living hell every day of their waking lives taking the crowded MRT or LRT trains that are packed even if it’s not rush hour or taking jeepneys or buses whose drivers don’t care if the passengers who are going to work are already late or if the passengers who are going home are already tired and hungry because, of course, naturally, these drivers themselves are also looking for profit, to earn money to put food on the table. So yeah, if there should be anyone to blame for this shit, it’s still the government. Dilawan, Dutertard, fuck that, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that people are looking out for themselves and for their own personal comforts because the government, which should be looking out for them, has been remiss. And it has been remiss long enough, not just in this administration, not just in PNoy’s administration, but in many administrations past. Maybe it’s time for the people to seriously demand those in the government to give them a safe, affordable, and efficient mass transportation system that’s long overdue, no?

Wow. I really need to chop up those long sentences. LOL.

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