Remember that time when presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo spent almost four hours commuting from his house to Malacañang Palace just to prove that Manila totally doesn’t have a transportation crisis? Remember how no one bought his spiel about how it wasn’t that bad? Just look at his sweat-stained shirt!
Well, another VIP personality pulled the same stunt recently, and this time netizens are applauding him for the effort. Meet Hiro Okamoto, the new president of Toyota Motors Philippines, who commuted around the metro recently to understand the everyday woes of the Pinoy commuter.
In a Facebook post that appeared on his page yesterday, Okamoto, who is from Japan, wrote, “During my first week in the Philippines, I decided to do ‘Genchi Genbutsu,’ or to ‘Go and See’ the daily struggles of Filipino commuters. I rode a bus, took a round trip of the MRT, rode the jeepney, queued for a long time to ride the UV Express, and lastly, took a tricycle ride to Tondo!”
Okamoto said it was an eye-opening experience. “I realize that unlike Japan or Singapore, the Philippines’ current mass transport system is not enough to accommodate the huge number of daily commuters. I would like Toyota to take part in this big challenge to upgrade the quality of life for many Filipinos.”
Working-class Filipinos tend to believe that government officials are clueless about the difficulty of commuting around the city (Exhibit A: Panelo), so seeing a foreigner experiencing Manila’s soul-sucking transport system was amusing and admirable, which is why the post has been shared almost 13,000 times since it appeared.
Netizens lauded Okamoto, like Jefrey Calosa, who wrote, “If only our politicians would think like you do to understand the problem.”
Should politicians follow Okamoto’s lead? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
This article, Netizens laud Toyota exec for commuting around Manila to understand Pinoys’ transport woes, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!