Being a visionary and having consistency in character are sometimes mistaken for stubbornness or self-absorption. These are negative traits attributed to people by conventional wisdom.
Early comments about Jeff Bezos and how Amazon only loses money as well as Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX of Elon Musk are examples of ridicule that have now given way to accolades for these two visionaries.
Their consistency enabled them to realize their dreams, incurring the ire and consternation of many critics along the way.
On the local front, there are criticisms about the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and its “crazy secretary” who wants to put a foolish cable car across the Pasig River. Yet Medallin in Columbia won in the Sustainable Transport Awards for its gondola cable car system integrated into its bus rapid transport or BRT system.
Cable cars also cross the Moscow River connecting the Olympic stadium to Russia’s top university. This project was only started in 2017 with its Porsche-designed cable cars that not only lessened traffic but have proven to be a popular tourist attraction. Suddenly these ideas no longer look foolish.
Perhaps it’s from the constant dealing with Japanese firm NYK Line that DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has learned to do long-term planning and implementation needed to achieve the larger vision. Mr. Tugade also moved the DoTr to Clark Freeport Zone and led by example by eliminating the DoTr-induced traffic along Ortigas Avenue.
More government officials should transfer to Clark to help declog Metro Manila and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Today there are many detractors regarding the new busways and the jeepney modernization program. But they fail to realize there is life after the pandemic and must instead use the situation to create plans that would help propel the economy while Filipinos leapfrog to a better post-pandemic life.
GROWTH AMID CRISIS
In one of his famous speeches, John F. Kennedy said: “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters — one represents danger and one represents opportunity.” Kennedy was referring to “weiji” — the Mandarin word for crisis — and he reiterated in the same speech: “Along with danger, crisis is represented by opportunity.”
Indeed there are opportunities even in this current crisis brought about by the horrible pandemic, especially for companies belonging to essential industries. One of the least adversely affected by the economic turmoil is the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry. This, despite the collapse of global oil prices which has taken its toll on the rest of the downstream petroleum sector.
Considered a basic necessity, LPG remains the fuel of choice in most urban Filipino households. It is a relatively inelastic product, with price changes having minimal influence on demand.
Based on the latest statistics from the Department of Energy, the total LPG market in the Philippines reached 1.8 million metric tons in 2019, up by 1.5% from the previous year. In terms of market share, the top three firms are Petron Corp. at 28.2%, Liquigaz Philippines at 22.0%, and South Pacific, Inc. at 17.9%.
J. Albert Gamboa is CFO of Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chairman of FINEX Publications.