Maintaining a legacy of good business
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony F. Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2019 - 12:00am

One of our country’s bold and daring taipans today is Ramon S. Ang – the president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corp. Through his work and his vision, he is still living up to the legacy of the founders of SMC and Don Andres Soriano Sr. who lived by the code “profit with honor.”

I’ve written about it before, but I think this is even more important in this day and age and at this time of year. Business just for profit’s sake is no longer how to run a successful and community-conscious enterprise. Today, it’s important for all businesses to help uplift the communities where they live and operate. And that has been a driving force for businesses like SMC and Soriano companies before it.

This was something I got to see firsthand when I worked as the public relations manager for Soriano Group of Companies whose flagship company was San Miguel Corp. The companies not only focused on providing good service and innovating new products, but also devoted time to community building and finding projects that would benefit the people. This has continued to this day.

And while the companies have grown and leveled up what remains is trying to best serve the Filipino people. I wrote in a previous column about the bold project SMC is undertaking to build a world-class airport in Bulacan for a whopping P735 billion to help alleviate airport congestion in Manila. Once completed this airport will have four parallel working runways and a passenger capacity of more than 100 million. It’s going to be a game-changer.

Plus, the airport will have a dedicated expressway and toll that will connect it to the North Luzon Expressway to help passengers who arrive there quickly get to wherever they need to go.

I am very excited about this project and I believe SMC is the perfect one to bring it to completion. Ramon Ang is a pioneer and a true visionary who has the dedication needed to tackle a project of this massive scale. I know that once this is done, air travel to the Philippines will be so much more efficient and convenient and we can finally say goodbye to the horrendous traffic in and around our current airports – both in the sky and on the roads.

*     *     *

And speaking of traffic, it has been awful these past few weeks. I mean, traffic is already bad in general, but the past month going to the South, in particular, has been terrible. Due to some ongoing construction, South Luzon Expressway and even the Skyway have become unbearable turning one-hour drives into three- to four-hour nightmares.

Because of this, commuting has reached all new levels of madness. Grab and taxis, buses, and cars have all been stuck on highways for hours on end. People who need to be somewhere end up leaving hours earlier just to ensure they can make it on time. So much wasted time that could be used in other more productive ways. What a waste.

One of the ways people have been getting around – for a while now – and even more so recently is the ride service Angkas. Angkas is a motorcycle ride service that allows users to book motorcycles to get to their destinations. Because these bikes can more easily traverse city traffic they tend to get to their destinations faster. It has been a godsend in transportation.

What’s more, the drivers of Angkas are all professional, timely, and reliable. My daughter had an exceptional experience with a rider named Francisco Manuel Jr. who came across her when she blew out a tire on a dark and empty Lawton rode. The driver pulled over and helped her change her tire in the rain. He even waited with her after the tire was put on and she discovered her car battery had died as well. He insisted on keeping her company until Motolite showed up.

Then, after all this help, she tried to pay him and he refused to accept. He just wanted to help out of the kindness of his heart. A true hero indeed. And so many other people have similar stories of Angkas drivers’ professionalism, kindness, and reliability. The service has become a teeny tiny beacon of hope in a very terrible transportation situation in the country.

So I, along with so many others, was shocked to find out that the LTFRB has decided to cut Angkas’ fleet of riders/drivers down by roughly 17,000 by instituting a cap as they roll out their new motor taxi program. Once again, it seems like they saw an opportunity and decided to seize it to the inconvenience of the riding public. Why can’t they roll out their program without changing the status quo? Why can’t this happen in stages instead of one big blow? Cutting down Angkas drivers now seems hasty. The new motor taxi program is still in the starting phase and in no way has the experience and safety record Angkas has built over time.

I think they should have thought this out better. It is painful to think that 17,000 drivers are entering the holidays worried about whether or not they will be able to keep their jobs. It’s an awful way to celebrate. Here’s hoping a better solution can be reached that considers everyone.

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