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Talk of the Town: Game of Thrones, Uber/Grab-LTFRB Tussle, and the Sale of the Inquirer
Just another manic Monday.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ HBO ASIA/ pexels.com
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Mondays are usually filled with the humdrum of necessity – i.e., dragging your sleepy self to work and performing routine tasks. But the start of THIS week couldn’t get any more electrifying.

To start a conversation with the cute executive assistant at the office watercooler, or the guest of honor at tonight's cocktail party, here are a few things things to talk about that have kept the Town abuzz with anticipation, suspense, and mixed reactions since yesterday's manic Monday.

1. The Recently Released Game of Thrones Season 7

Talking Point: Winter has finally come to Westeros, and squillions of fans are prepared to execute anyone who dares to leak spoilers of this hugely popular HBO Original Series. The previous season left us with Khaleesi sailing to Westeros with a huge fleet composed of her allies: the Dothraki, Theon and Yara Greyjoy, the Martells, the Tyrells, and three full-grown dragons with an appetite for charred bipeds.

Discuss further: This second to the last season only has 7 episodes but makes up for it with a longer running time for each episode, with the final episode allegedly lasting over 80 minutes. The most suspense-inducing question is: Who will die next? George RR. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire, from where Game of Thrones is based, is notorious for killing off central characters. He builds up the characters, takes them to central prominence, and then kills them off.

What else? But what we’d like to see more in Season 7 is the fierce character of young Lyanna Mormont and the way she schools older men. We love her ironclad loyalty to the North, and her influential support for Jon Snow. With so many plotlines to follow, we just hope for three things: Please don’t kill Tyrion Lannister, Lyanna Mormont, and the Mother of Dragons!

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2. The Uber/Grab-LTFRB Tussle

Talking point: Last week, the LTFRB announced that it will start cracking down on Transport Network Company (TNC) partners who operate without a franchise starting July 26. TNCs include Grab, Uber, Wunder, and other ride-hailing companies that facilitate ride-sharing or ride-hailing services through mobile apps. 

Discuss further: Incensed, commuters took up the cudgels for Grab and Uber on social media to make their voices heard, sharing horrific experiences of riding or attempting to ride taxis. Many individuals lamented the poor alternative of riding taxis, while sharing the swift responses of Grab’s and Uber’s customer services. Filipinos used #WeWantGrabUber and #WeDeserveBetter as their war cry that trended on Twitter worldwide on Monday. In the past weeks, Grab and Uber have also promoted a petition on change.org requesting the LTFRB to allow their partners to continue serving the public.

What else? To take a more insightful stand, pitting taxis and TNCs against each other belies the problem of the public transport industry, which is systemic. The government must properly manage and direct the public transportation system so that it truly caters to the riding public. That Uber and Grab’s number of riders has grown by more than twice from previous years despite their price surges and not being allowed additional new franchises is an indication that the public need and want this kind of system. Perhaps it is judicious that the LTFRB listen to them?

3. Ramon S. Ang Buys the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Talking point: The Philippine Daily Inquirer was born in a tumultuous era in Philippine history.  It was founded on December 9, 1985, and barely three months later, it found itself printing headlines on the EDSA Revolution and the fall of Ferdinand Marcos. Through the years, the Inquirer has produced outstanding journalists and fearless columnists, with whom people have nurtured a love-hate relationship depending on what news or opinion they are reading.

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Discuss further: News broke out on Monday that Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corporation, is in talks with the Prieto family to acquire the Inquirer Group. With the prospect of receiving a fresh infusion of capital from, and tapping the experience of Ang, the Inquirer Group hopes to successfully adapt to an increasingly digital and mobile world.

What else: The Inquirer is known for its “Balanced News. Fearless Views” tagline, and has published critical views on all the living former presidents, who probably had unpleasant recollections of mornings when their names appeared on Inquirer’s front page. We look forward to positive developments at the Philippine Daily Inquirer as it stays committed to good, unbiased journalism.

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