The Philippine Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has warned public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers of punishments for policy violations after K-pop boy band SEVENTEEN’s Joshua Hong revealed that he was scammed by a taxi driver during an unplanned trip in Manila in early October.
Hong, 26, shared his experience in a video posted on Oct. 2, saying that he and his mom arrived in Manila in late September after encountering some problems with their original trip to Vietnam during Korea’s Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving).
“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,” Hong says in the video.
Later in the clip, Hong reveals that the taxi driver charged him 1,000 Philippine pesos (approximately $17), which he later learned was three times the rate of what he was supposed to pay.
After the news went viral, the LTFRB issued a statement on Oct. 8 denouncing what happened to Hong.
“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 wrote in Filipino, adding, “This kind of fraud practiced by PUV drivers on their passengers, whether local or foreigners.”
“The LTFRB reminds PUV drivers and operators to follow rules and policies of the agency to improve service to the public,” the agency continued. “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 and cancellation of their Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).”
The LTFRB urged everyone to report any such incidents though its 24/7 hotline 1342 or its official Facebook page.
Despite what happened, Hong clarified that things could go wrong when going on an unplanned trip and that the experience he shared does not mean that Manila is a bad place.
“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,” Hong said.
Famed food vlogger Mike Chen shared a similar experience in a video he made after he visited the Philippines in 2018. In its comment section, YouTuber Mikey Bustos said he was also scammed when he first arrived in the country.