12 wishes for 2021

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Kap Maceda Aguila-125

TALK BOX

What’s on your list?

Autohub Group President Willy Q. Tee Ten

TO BE HONEST, we’re still on the 2020 side of things as we put this “Velocity” issue to bed, so I’m hoping and praying that the waning days of this year don’t have more awful surprises in store, either natural or man-made.

If you believe in an eternal being, what do you pray for? How different is it from what you wished for at the start of 2020? Perhaps even more interesting: What is your state of mind as we enter this new year we actually started pining for very early in 2021 as things started to go south?

Many of us lost family and friends both to the disease and in circumstances we never would have had to deal with during a “normal” year. Those left behind were bereft of the traditional (and needed) time to process grief through a wake — consoled by fellow mourners as we look back and pay homage to the departed. Others may have lost a house, a job, a business, an investment, a travel plan. So as we rue how we must temper our celebrations and travels with caution to protect ourselves and the people around us, let’s remember that many do not even have the energy or desire to celebrate.

As we near the half-million mark in total coronavirus infections in the Philippines, it’s still better to count our blessings because things could have been, and could still be, worse. This means we must not waver on mindfulness of and compliance with health protocols even as multiple vaccines have been developed around the world.

I’ve seen countless posts, obviously half in jest, on social media about how we should stop saying “Bring it on, 2021!” or something to that effect. Fact is, 2020 has been one big black swan event — named after that rare bird which does occur in nature.

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So as we mercifully shake off this nefarious year and look forward to, among other things, actually using that planner we (happily) chugged gallons of coffee to get, how about drafting a wish list of things both out of and within our collective control? We get the benefit of a clear slate, and it shouldn’t hurt to look forward to coloring it in the brightest of colors.

I wish…

1. That our loved ones get access to the best COVID-19 vaccine out there — and that the wait won’t be long.

2. That government makes good on its promise to prioritize the vaccination of medical frontliners and senior citizens.

3. That Filipinos finally learn to properly mask up and wear their face shields correctly.

4. That displaced bus drivers and their conductors, jeepney drivers, and tricycle drivers get sustainable options.

5. That our commuting public be given better, safer options.

6. That the EDSA Busway concept be reexamined and reconceptualized into one that can maximize EDSA’s capacity.

7. That drivers of vehicles who have no business using said Busway be decisively punished.

8. That more government agencies open online facilities and functionalities to limit physical contact.

9. That those U-turn experiments be put to rest.

10. That our RFID odyssey be finally completed.

11. That our auto industry, once a shining beacon of performance, gets back to its pre-TRAIN health.

12. That we’ll continue on the path to more choices in electrified mobility.

* * *

Speaking of wish lists, I reached out to Autohub Group of Companies President Willy Q. Tee Ten, who’s also the president of the Philippine Automotive Dealers Association which represents more than 200 dealers across the country.

I asked him for his projection for the local industry in 2021 and, crucially, what he thinks the main prerequisites are to help the industry recover from the doldrums of the past year.

Mr. Tee Ten’s wishes…

1. That banks approve more loans.

2. That frontliners be prioritized for vaccination.

3. That government supports more industries.

4. That, hopefully, no safeguard duties will be implemented, which will lead to an increase in the prices of vehicles.

When asked if we can get to 2018 or 2019 levels in terms of monthly sales, the executive replied: “I hope so. But it will be a challenge. I hope the ingredients above will become a reality sooner than later.”

Amen to that.

Cheers to a better year, everyone! Keep safe, and never let go of hope — and good sense.

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