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After pal, who’s next?

After getting Mighty Corporation to pay P25 billion (3.4 billion as first down payment), they got Uber to pay the LTFRB P190 million. Now the Duterte administration sent out the demand letter to Philippine Airlines yesterday, ordering them to pay up P6.63 billion in ten days. The question is: Who’s next?

From what I know, PAL had offered a P4-billion compromise for the P6.63 billion because approximately P2 billion in charges demanded by CAAP were under question or needed to be substantiated. But what probably pissed off Secretary Tugade was the required standard procedure of forming an inter-agency committee to address the matter as well as the request of PAL to be given seven years to pay the P4 billion. It did not take long for President Rodrigo Duterte to learn about the matter and following Tugade’s lead, DU30 also went ballistic on PAL and Mr. Lucio Tan.

There is no doubt that President Duterte’s no nonsense – no compromise style has started to trickle down to his cabinet members down to Usecs – Asecs – even agency directors. The only thing that worries observers is the unforeseen or the unexpected consequences of such direct actions. One employee at PAL quipped that they are now waiting out the next 10 days to know if they will still have jobs, if they will end up with new owners or employers like Mighty Corporation or will they all be kissing their retirement packages goodbye?

I would like to think that PAL is Too Big to fail but that all depends on government and its leaders. Are we simply talking about a collection notice or are we going to see the return of PAL ownership into the hands of a favored few? Whatever the case may be, Secretary Art Tugade has undoubtedly sent a very strong message to the business community: Don’t mess with us because its gonna cost you!

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It’s time to get tough on trucks!

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Yesterday two trucks were in the news once again after their drivers “lost control” of their vehicle. The first truck reportedly crashed through a steel barrier of a bridge in Manila and landed on several squatter shanties killing a grandfather and his grandson who had no warning that a truck was about to crush them to death. Later in the day another truck coming from Pasig/Shaw Boulevard I believe crashed directly into the concrete post of the Flyover on C5. Motorists reported that the truck caused heavy damage to the pillar and blocked the entire service road.

The usual excuse is that their brakes failed and that the drivers were not speeding. My years in the motoring industry tell me that the only reason that would happen is because the trucks were (and frequently are) OVERLOADED! I have written several times about the need for the DPWH to set up weighing bridges or mobile “scales” along EDSA/C5/NLEX and SLEX because this is the only way to discipline and regulate truckers and trucking companies concerning OVERLOADING.  How can a government impose a ban or force truckers to get rid of 15-year old or older trucks if it cannot even check and arrest the majority of trucks that are overloaded and drive through EDSA and C5 daily or 24/7.

There have been too many accidents, too many deaths related to truck accidents, and it has now become the mentality of truck drivers that when brakes fail, ram a concrete post, ram a barrier, or ram a tree. BUT nobody has taught them how to guesstimate if their trucks are overloaded and that if the truck is overloaded, the brakes won’t give them 100 percent stopping power as they normally presume. If the LTO visits bus companies, maybe it’s about time they also visit companies that regularly have trucks coming in to load cargo and check if the truck drivers are competent and their trucks compliant with manufacturers’ standards especially capacity!

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A batch of nurses supposedly set to take jobs somewhere in the United Kingdom will have to go back to school. They have to go back and relearn their “English.” You don’t even have to go that far to discover that many global companies are increasingly dismayed to discover that Filipinos are no longer the best English speakers in Asia. In fact a number of executives have told me that they are hard pressed to find the ideal candidates to fill various slots especially in the business outsourcing sector.

Some 15 to 20 years ago, people already realized the problem and the solution was “tutorial training.” The idea was to simply give them 6 months to a year’s worth of intensive training and all would be well. Ironically while the training experts were finding solutions to the language lack, people in other fields were causing a drop in English proficiency by “adjusting” to the “masa” who demand more Taglish or less English in the marketplace. I myself have gotten into several intense discussions even with church leaders who for the sake of reaching out to more people are willing to go 70 percent Tagalog and 30 percent English in their communications and preaching. 

The problem with that is you alienate one group of leaders in order to accommodate the majority who need more exposure to English. As many people point out; Tagalog is not spoken or understood all over the Philippines especially in Cebu and Mindanao. Tagalog is not a global language and to prioritize it is beginning to prove to be one very serious mistake made by government officials in the past. Sorry but when you put our total population against the size of our economy and available jobs, it would be easy to say that the jobs are outside the Philippines but we can’t take them because “We no speak English.”

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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