Roundup Bits: Things “Going” On This Week

So many things have been going about these past few days around the metropolis that it is proper to do another edition of the Roamer’s Roundup. This edition is packed with many interesting stories around the city; check them out below for the lowdown.

UBER GOES LEGAL

The past week has been a tough one for both Uber, the mobile app ride-sharing platform, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) the government agency under the Department of Transportation and Communication (you know, that government office we love to bits especially with (P)Abaya at its helm) which regulates public transportation in the country over the LTFRB’s threat to crack down on Uber for having yet to comply for it to be registered with the LTFRB as a “transport network service” or TNS.

So what is a TNS exactly? It is a new category the LTFRB set up specifically to regulate ridesharing services like Uber and GrabCar, the first country in the world to do so. While GrabCar applied early and got its license, making it the first TNS-registered service in the country, Uber had taken time to do so, prompting the LTFRB to “remind” Uber that it had only up to August 20 to do so.

This led to a public outcry against the LTFRB as social media became a heated battleground as it was reported there that LTFRB was gung ho against Uber because it was favoring the Premium Taxi service, something the LTFRB denied as Premium Taxi is far different from TNS.

But all’s well in the end when Uber finally submitted its application as a TNS provider. Hope this leads to somehow better things ahead for the country’s public transport system as a whole.

from Uber’s Facebook page

Now if LTFRB would fix on those issues with speeding buses, abusive taxi drivers, undisciplined jeepneys, etc…

OIL DEPOTS GOING OUT OF PANDACAN

It has long been a subject of contention and there were already pronouncements made about it. But the Urban Roamer has never thought of seeing the day that the oil depots that have been operating in Pandacan district in Manila for over a century now would be finally dismantled for good.

image courtesy of Rappler

At this time of writing, Petron and Shell are already in the process of gradually downsizing their operations that would lead to them vacating their Pandacan facilities before the end of the year, ahead of the January 2016 deadline given by the Manila City Government for them to leave Pandacan.

Once vacated, Manila plans to convert the 33-hectare facilities into a residential and commercial development though Ramon Ang, the president of San Miguel Corporation (the parent company of Petron) proposes to turn it into a food manufacturing facility.

Whatever is to be planned for the Pandacan Oil Depot facility, I just hope there is open and green spaces that would be allocated, unlike the congestion and claustrophobic development developers are going for these days like what’s happening in Newport City. Oops, that would be another story.

AYALA GOES TO TUTUBAN

It was news that came out of left field, so to speak. Nevertheless it was a welcome development to learn that Ayala Land would be managing Tutuban Center, the premier shopping destination in Manila’s famed shopping area of Divisoria as it snagged a controlling stake in the mall operator, Prime Orion Philippines Inc.

courtesy of tutuban.com.ph

While Ayala Land has been primarily known for developing upscale malls like Ayala Center in Makati and Alabang Town Center, it has been making thrust in recent years to cater to middle and lower class markets with building malls like Market Market and Trinoma, as well as managing Metro Point Mall at the corner of EDSA and Taft Avenue which is perhaps the most un-Ayala Mall of them all. But that’s also another story.

Ayala Land’s entry in Tutuban Center is a significant step for the developer in establishing a presence in the City of Manila itself. It is also a strategic one as analysts see Ayala is making a move to take advantage of Tutuban Center’s role as a strategic station in the planned revitalization of the Philippine National Railways through the North-South Railway Project and that of the Line 2 West Extension Project which seeks to extend the mass transit Line 2 all the way to the North Harbor. Just like how Ayala built Trinoma to take advantage of its location near the North Avenue Station of Line 3 and managing Metro Point Mall which serves as a bridge between Lines 1 and 3.

We can only hope that Ayala Land’s entry would mean better developments ahead for Tutuban Center. Perhaps we would see movie theaters in the mall again with Ayala Cinemas? Just as long as Ayala does not touch the stalls that have made Tutuban Center what it is today. At the very least, I hope don’t run it the same way they have run Metro Point Mall.

MLQ MUSEUM GOES MODERN

Today happens to be the birthday of Pres. Manuel L. Quezon. And to celebrate this event, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is opening the new and “modern” Quezon Museum at the Quezon Memorial Shrine.

DSC08978.jpg

Apparently, the museum was closed for many months as the NHCP was busy renovating the museum. It will be interesting what the new Quezon Museum will offer to visitors. Also a good opportunity for me to update my post about it years ago.

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