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IN 2010, after years of driving through EDSA traffic from my house in Parañaque to my workplace in Quezon City (then later Mandaluyong), I decided to rent a condo unit next to my office building. This allowed me to walk 200 steps every day to report for work, while saving my car a lot of mileage in the process. In other words, I heeded the advice of living near my place of employment just to avoid the soul-sapping effects of driving.
UNLESS you live in a far-flung province and have never set foot in Metro Manila in the last few years, there’s a good chance you’ve already tried getting around using TNVS — or transport network vehicle service. It’s like riding a taxicab, but instead of hailing a public-utility car by the roadside, you do so from the air-conditioned comfort of your home or office, using an app installed on your smart phone. You probably know this service by the popular companies that provide it, like Grab (or Uber, before it sold its Southeast Asian business to Grab).
THANKS to accessible social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, information dissemination has been democratized. What this has done is basically cut the middleman (or traditional media, to be exact). In the past, if people wished to announce anything to the world, they had to go to a radio or TV station and then beg said station to let them go on air for one minute to make their statement (which was usually about a missing relative or a stolen vehicle). Today, anyone — and that literally means anyone (even a jobless freeloader who happens to have a smart phone) — can fire off a similar message online and the message may then be read by folks even halfway across the globe. For free.
THIS year, the Filipino consumer has taken quite a beating with the passing of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act as well as the global inflation. As the prices of fuel and basic commodities have shot up, car sales have gone down. Even profligate Filipinos know when to pinch their pennies.
I dare you to truly wrap your head around this math: Two out of five brand-new cars that Filipinos buy today are from Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP). That’s 40%. An eye-popping number especially when you consider that more than 35 automotive brands — from the mass-market to the luxury — do business in the country.