If there is not a lot of cheering over the decision of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to reduce the taxi flag-down rate by P10, it is probably because the agency also announced it would not recalibrate the cab meters to reflect the change.
I expect that there will be a lot of arguments between passengers, who know about the reduction, and drivers who will feign ignorance. I also expect that many people will be overcharged because, if you are distracted and trying to juggle in your mind many things, remembering that your taxi fare is supposed to be less than P10 is not going to be a priority.
Even if taxi meters are calibrated, I still find myself wondering if these have been tampered with, because I have to pay much more than the usual fare, though the traffic situation and the distance I normally travel are the same.
Digital meters supposedly are tamper-proof, but drivers themselves tell me that their colleagues have ways to make them run faster.
This information does not surprise me. Filipinos are known for their ability to come up with creative solutions to problems that others may consider unsolvable. Think of locked mobile phones or phones programmed to work only in foreign countries or with the use of a specific network’s SIM (subscriber identification module) card.
Without a recalibration of taxi meters, many drivers, I am sure, will claim temporary amnesia. Even jeepney drivers, several months after new fare matrices were issued by LTFRB, seem to have forgotten how much they are supposed to charge passengers. This is usually the case—the first weeks after the release of the matrices, drivers follow them to the letter. Afterward, they impose their own unofficial adjustments despite having fare matrices on display in their vehicles.
Regular commuters can tell if they are being overcharged, but those who are going to unfamiliar destinations can be made to pay whatever amount the driver decides.
Avon, which identifies itself as a company for women, has named Richard Yap, “Sir Chief” to fans of his television series, its first signature male model in the Philippines. He lends his name to Avon’s RY fragrance for men.
Yap brings to this “role” more than just his image and celebrity status. Aside from supporting Avon’s longstanding campaign against breast cancer, which afflicts women primarily, Yap has also “committed to women empowerment” and a supporter of the fight to end violence against women.
Getting a man who supports its causes to improve the lives and status of women should strengthen Avon’s campaigns.
As we are reminded every year when we mark Women’s Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, the campaign to improve the status of women cannot succeed without the support of men. They have to recognize and accept that women are not inferior but different, with their own strengths and abilities that complement the men’s talents and skills.
We also have to impress upon men that turning their wives or partners into punching bags does not make them look macho, but rather like bullies who pick on those who cannot fight back.
From media reports, Yap seems to be the kind of person who thinks being a good husband and father is what being manly is all about.
I hope the men who buy his signature scent will think not just of the celebrity endorsing it but what he stands for as a man who supports women.
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