K-pop group Seventeen’s Joshua Hong got support from the government agency Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) after he narrated how he was scammed by a taxi driver when he and his mom went on vacation in Manila in September.
In a statement issued on Oct. 8, the LTFRB condemned abusive public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers who overcharge passengers.
“Mariing kinokondena ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang pang-aabuso ng mga Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers sa labis na paniningil ng pamasahe sa kanilang mga pasahero (The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) strongly denounces the abuse by Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers for excessively charging fares to their passengers),” the government agency said.
It added, “Kasunod 'yan ng naging pahayag ni Joshua Hong, miyembro ng sikat na Korean Pop boy group na Seventeen, nang tanungin sa kanyang naging karanasan pagdating sa bansa para ipagdiwang ang Chuseok holiday o Korean Thanksgiving noong nakaraang buwan (This after the statement of Joshua Hong, member of the popular Korean Pop boy group Seventeen, when he was asked about his experienced when he arrived in the country to celebrate the Chuseok holiday or Korean Thanksgiving last month).”
“Ayon kay Joshua, siningil siya ng mahigit P1,000 ng isang taxi driver, tinatayang tatlong beses na mas mataas sa dapat na singil sa kaniya sa taxi (According to Joshua, he was charged more than P1,000 by a taxi driver, which is estimated to be three times higher than the amount he was supposed to be charged for the taxi),” LTFRB said.
According to the agency, “Kailanman ay hindi katanggap-tanggap sa LTFRB ang ganitong panloloko ng mga PUV drivers sa kanilang mga pasahero - lokal man o dayuhan (This fraud by PUV drivers on their passengers–local or foreigner–is never acceptable).”
“Pinapaalala ng LTFRB sa mga PUV driver at operator na sumunod sa mga alituntunin at polisiya ng ahensya upang mapabuti ang pagseserbisyo sa publiko. Ang sinumang mahuhuling lalabag sa mga ito ay papatawan ng karampatang parusang nakapaloob sa Joint Administrative Order 2014, tulad ng pagbabayad ng multa at pagkansela ng kanilang Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) (The LTFRB reminds PUV driver and operator to follow rules and policies of the agency to improve service to the public. Anyone who is caught violating these will be meted out the appropriate punishment contained in the Joint Administrative Order 2014, such as paying a fine at cancellation of their Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC),” LTFRB said.
It added, “Hinihikayat naman ng LTFRB ang publiko na ipagbigay-alam sa ahensya ang mga ganitong pangyayari sa pamamagitan ng LTFRB 24/7 hotline 1342, sa Official Facebook Page at Facebook messenger ng ahensya o 'di kaya'y sa e-mail sa email@example.com upang maaksyunan ang ganitong mga uri ng reklamo (The public is encouraged to inform the agency about these incidents through the LTFRB 24/7 hotline 1342, through the agency’s Official Facebook Page and Facebook messenger or email at firstname.lastname@example.org so these complaints can be acted upon).”
In a video by Seventeen last Oct. 2, Joshua recounted what he and his mom experienced when they went on an unplanned trip to Manila in September.
Joshua said they were booked to go to Vietnam during Korea’s Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) but ended up going to Manila because of his visa problem.
"I went on a trip with my mom recently. We were actually initially planned to go to Da Nang, Vietnam, but we ended up going to Manila, the Philippines, and a lot of things happened there,” said Joshua, according to SBS News.
He added, “Since I had never gone on a trip abroad with my mom until then, I was really excited about it. I planned everything ahead. I booked our flight and hotel rooms. I also looked into places where we could go together and stuff."
Joshua said when he and his mom went to the airport, he found out that Americans like him needed a visa to enter Vietnam.
"On the day of our trip, we headed to the airport. While we were checking in, the staff asked us, 'You have visa to Vietnam, right?' I didn't. When I was planning our trip, there was nothing about visa anywhere. It turned out that I searched things on a Korean site and Koreans didn't need visa to go to Vietnam, but I did, as I'm American. I had totally forgotten that I wasn't Korean," he said.
He estimated that he wasted 3.5 million ($2,471) for the failed Vietnam trip.
"So, we couldn't go to Vietnam. I blew like 3.5 million won on that day. Since we were already at the airport, I thought we should still try to go somewhere,” he said.
He added, “The closest flight with seats was a flight to Manila, so we decided to go there instead. We didn't have time to exchange our money and stuff, because our flight was taking off soon. We thought we'll be able to sort it out once we get there."
At the airport in Manila, he said, he failed to withdraw money from ATMs as his card did not work.
"There were like six of them, but none of them worked. We were like, 'Okay, then. Let's find a hotel, then check in to it first. We'll withdraw money near the hotel or something.' We got into a taxi, thinking that they would accept cards. But it was cash-only. I panicked so much," he said about his experience in Manila.
As they were heading to the hotel aboard the taxi, he saw an ATM and stopped but his card did not work again.
"When I found out about it, I saw an ATM on the street, so we stopped there to try withdrawing it again. But it didn't work. I told the taxi driver that I would buy him a meal or something if I was unable to get cash anywhere soon, just please take us to the hotel. At that time, I got really thirsty, so I went to grab something at the convenient store. And you know what? It was cash-only there too. Unbelievable, isn't it?" he further said.
At the hotel, he said, he asked the staff to overcharge his card so they could give him the badly needed cash. He also found out that the taxi overcharged him.
"We went to this five-star hotel, and I asked the hotel staff to overcharge my card and give me some cash with the amount that they overcharged my card. Thankfully, they did that for me. The taxi driver asked for like a thousand something in the Philippine peso, and I later found out that I had paid like three times more. Gosh...," he said.
Joshua said he also paid 100,000 won ($70.6) for a meal that “tasted horrible.”
"We walked around the hotel to find a decent restaurant for dinner, but none of them looked very good. We ended up going to the nicest-looking one out of all, but it tasted horrible. It was a dim sum place, and I paid over 100,000 won for that meal. Following our dinner, we discovered that there was a huge mall with great restaurants only a few minutes away from the restaurant we went to. Ah..." he said.
Joshua clarified that he is not describing Manila as a bad place but said things could go wrong on an unplanned trip like what they did.
"I'm not saying that Manila is a bad place to travel. I'm just sharing my own experience, and that is what sort of thing that could happen to you if you go on a trip without making any plans in advance,” he said.
He advised that “always make plans first! Make sure to take cash with you, especially when you're traveling to a South East Asian country as well."
Seventeen finished their “Be The Sun” concert in Manila on Oct. 8 and 9.