SEVENTEEN‘s Joshua decided to spend his Chuseok holiday vacation with his mother in the Philippines and had a mishap involving overpaying for a taxi that fans originally found hilarious.
The artist originally told the story behind his trip to fans on live stream and included how he ended up paying three times the usual amount for a taxi.
We got into a taxi, thinking that they would accept cards. But it was cash-only. I panicked so much. 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.
After the story went viral, the Philippine authority in charge of regulating public transportation, the LTFRB (also known as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board), issued a warning against drivers of such vehicles. A few days later, they also announced that they would be tracking down the taxi driver that overcharged Joshua, despite the latter not asking for this.
While Joshua’s story may be close to being “resolved”, many fans claim that the government is using him as a cover-up to distract from the significant issues taking place within the public transportation system in the Philippines.
According to the Asian Development Bank, the transport sector’s main challenges include poor road networks, lack of governance, and lack of quality urban transport methods. In addition, many say public transport workers, including taxi drivers, are often pushed into challenging circumstances leading them to overcharge rides, as with Joshua.
this is why our justice system is soooo anti-poor. they should start fixing the system, not putting all the blame on a worker desperately trying to earn as much money just to keep him and his family survive an era full of expensive basic needs. nakakapagod ka na, pilipinas. https://t.co/xzxiurk1jU
— oliver. (@boyfiejeonwonu) October 12, 2022
Fans also claim that the government is reporting on the issue only because Joshua’s fame caused an international spotlight on the country and that the average citizen in the Philippines faces transportation issues daily. This sort of celebrity cover-up only diverts from the actual problem that needs attention.
More issues with the public transport system include a lack of buses and unnecessary bus bans, and an old and out-of-date railway system, according to Rappler. Some of the country’s train cars have been active since the system was launched over 35 years ago.
Authorities should focus on the deteriorating state of our public transportation rather than focus on unnecessary things. Also, it makes me so mad that you are only taking action when famous people speak. The Filipino masses are struggling everyday!!! Listen to us too!? Hello!? https://t.co/yVkrD2xoZr
— Pizza with an R (@eamazzir) October 12, 2022
doing this is so unnecessary & such a band aid solution in a real issue that not only joshua experienced as a tourist but also filipinos commuters experience every single day. doing this is making it look like its for the sake of clout & praide & not actually solving the problem https://t.co/SzQgXif0Rk
— ✩ (@jungpful) October 12, 2022
While Joshua getting scammed was unfortunate, many netizens say that the government’s actions against this sole taxi driver will cause more harm than good and are simply “putting a band-aid” on the much larger situation as a whole without solving anything.
it’s literally a systemic issue so why put the burden on ONE person???? yeah it was bad, but how about you make sure that taxi drivers are compensated enough + commuters are charged fairly? AND STOP USING JOSHUA’S NAME NOW PLS https://t.co/nuoVyqwNmv
— 🐶 • saw her junhui 🤍 (@go5hui) October 12, 2022
this is just another episode of selective justice. they're just tracking the driver that overcharged joshua because joshua is a famous person. there are a bunch of cases like this that remain unsolved because the victims are not popular people. https://t.co/oMaRcOv2Wa
— velle (@sevalentine_) October 12, 2022
god just leave the taxi driver be? joshua can take one overpriced taxi, it’s not that big of a deal – the system should have been the focus but ofc y’all would make the taxi driver the escape goat https://t.co/cGFUMr5JYR
— k. (@requlus) October 12, 2022