Filipinos are known as one of the happiest people on earth. We smile, we accept things happily, regardless of the situation. And ultimately, we are courageous and fight for things we know are worth fighting for. In a succinct manner, people support what they help create. Such is the ride sharing services like Uber and Grab; it’s faster, more convenient, and safer than our ubiquitous transport systems such as jeepneys, buses, and taxis.
Fortunately, the stars were aligned today as finally, the renowned automotive journalist Mr. James Deakin was able to speak on behalf of the Filipino commuters and ride sharing supporters in the Senate earlier today.
In case you missed it, here’s what he wrote on his Facebook page:
I can’t remember everything I said, but this was the gist.
“We understand the need for government regulation; but our prayer here today is to create relevant and bespoke regulations through new legislation that preserves the spirit of ride sharing, rather than try and make it fit into an outdated framework that will only regulate it back into square one. I cannot stress this enough, because if we required everything new to fit into an existing set of regulations, we would have never invented the light bulb, electricity, or the internet.
Ride sharing is different. And it needs to be treated as such if it has any chance of hitting its full potential. And that is what I want to focus on today.
As it is, the conversation has been: I prefer Grab and Uber to taxis as they are a safer, more convenient, reliable option to a taxi. But as true as that may be, that is not where the conversation should be. Had it been allowed, the conversation should have already evolved into: I prefer Grab and Uber over my private car. Because that is where the true magic will begin to happen.
It pains me to say this as an enthusiast and from someone that loves the auto industry, but it’s a universally accepted fact that the primary source of congestion in any mega city is usually the private car. And yet despite our best efforts, we have not been able to wean the public off their addiction to them. And oh boy have we tried.
We started with coding. Now theres even a proposal to increase that to 2 days a week, or worse, an odd even scheme. There’s excise tax, as well as a new proposal to penalize owners of 2 or more cars through even more taxation. None of it has worked. And every suggestion is met with strong resistance from car owners. Not because they don’t want to sacrifice, but simply because we feel there’s no safe and reliable alternative.
Now along comes a tried and proven solution that not only works, but is embraced already by the public as a genuine alternative to private car ownership, and as far as the riding public sees it, that is the one thing that is being attacked. That is why we are angry. That is why we are concerned. We feel that instead of encouraging and nurturing new technology, we are penalizing it.
The Philippines is the fastest growing economy in South East Asia, if not the whole of Asia. We are booming. And one of the biggest threats we face is the transport crisis. Now along comes a solution that is not only staring us in the face, but is actually being embraced despite all of its challenges, and there are still those who want to regulate it back to what it was.
Let’s not penalize success. Let’s send a clear message to progress: You Are Welcome Here.”
Meanwhile, his courageous act was appreciated by the Netizens.
"Let's not penalize success. Let's send a clear message to progress – You are welcome here."
Thank God for James Deakin.
— Kit de Silva (@desilvakit) August 3, 2017
James Deakin!!! ???????????????? Such a breath of much needed fresh air in the Senate. I wonder if they even understood him. ???? https://t.co/sw1to7pBA4
— Miss Krizzy (@krizzy_kalerqui) August 3, 2017
James Deakin's most quotable quote in the Senate's hearing on TNVS this morning:
"The Filipino is worth driving for."
— Jervis Manahan (@jervismanahan) August 3, 2017
I hope our legislators consider James Deakin's senate testimony in crafting a law that will regulate and promote public transport options????????
— reiz tanchico (@reiztanchico) August 3, 2017
You may read the full story here.
Thank you for being courageous, James. I hope they will listen to you.
Do you agree with him? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.