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VW caught cheating with emissions results

German car manufacturer Volkswagen is facing $18 billion in fines as a result of revelations that it has been fudging its emissions/air pollution results in the US for years. According to reports, the carmaker installed a software called “defeat device” that only functions during official emission testing. The rest of the time however, the cars—about 500,000 unites of Audi and Volkswagen car models (diesel) from 2009 to 2015—emit 10 to 40 times more air pollution than the accepted legal limits, reports said.

Despite a public apology by the chief executive of Volkswagen, the scandal has caused share prices to plummet by as much as 19 percent in Frankfurt, Germany, and has prompted calls for investigation in other countries where VW has a presence. The South Korean government already announced that it will launch an investigation on emissions for the Jetta and Gold models and the Audi A3 cars manufactured since 2014. For sure, Asian carmakers are not commiserating with the European carmaker since it has been eating into a significant chunk of the market long dominated by local Korean brands like Hyundai for example.

US politicians have been quick to pounce on the issue, announcing that investigations and hearings will start Monday. Meantime, the US Justice Department is also starting an inquiry following VW’s admission that it had been cheating on the emission test results. The recall of more than 480,000 VW and Audi cars has also been ordered by the US government. Apparently, a whistleblower tipped off US authorities following tests that showed a huge discrepancy in the amounts of toxic emissions coming from the German cars which were way above the legal standards. 

We share the jaded view of a pollution expert, however, that it might not only be Volkswagen that has been fiddling or manipulating air pollution results as this could be very widespread. Here in the Philippines, car manufacturers don’t even need to bother installing some newfangled software of technology to cheat on emissions tests, because emissions testing centers will gladly help them if the price is right. And guess what—the LTO is very much aware of this practice but are they really doing something about it?

No fondness for Lambingan Bridge

We’re happy to note that the Japan International Cooperation Agency is giving funds to have the Guadalupe Bridge and Lambingan Bridge in Sta. Ana undergo seismic retrofitting and rehabilitation with the help of Japanese technology, and this will likely commence by late 2017 or 2018 with target completion date set on January 2021. JICA says it wants to enhance the resilience of the transport network in Metro Manila during major earthquakes by replacing and reinforcing the said bridges with the use of Japanese technology.

That’s very good news, but since it will be two years before the start of the project, perhaps concerned authorities can turn their attention on a more immediate need which is the horrible traffic situation along Lambingan Bridge, especially on the Kalentong side in Mandaluyong.

A 10-minute drive can turn into a one-hour ordeal with all the undisciplined jeepney drivers dropping off or taking in passengers everywhere they fancy. Worse, these jeeps have turned the entire stretch into their terminal and what makes it even more infuriating for motorists is the lack of traffic enforcers from the barangay or whoever should be managing the traffic in the area. If you’re going to Sta. Ana-Paco Manila, there is a police precinct located on the left beside the Don Bosco Tech and traffic is horrible but no one is even pretending to direct the cars, tricycles and other kinds of vehicles trying to turn into that side street. Contrary to its name, motorists passing by Lambingan Bridge will not feel any tenderness or affection as they go through traffic purgatory.

Adknowledge Asia acquisition

And now for some positive news. More companies are beginning to realize the critical role that efficient advertising plays in social media and digital video marketing, and this has made demand surge especially here in the Asia Pacific region. Quick to recognize opportunities, Adknowledge Asia Pacific—a venture between Malaysia-based Axiata Digital Advertising and US-based advertising technology company Adknowledge—recently announced the acquisition of Komli Media Inc.’s Southeast Asia organization.

This latest development adds two new markets—Thailand and the Philippines—to the existing footprint of AA’s footprint in the APAC region with existing teams in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. (Just for clarification, the purchase does not include Komli Media India and RevX.)

There’s incredible upsurge and demand in the APAC region and with this deal, we’re investing in additional ‘people power’ to meet it,” remarked acting Adknowledge Asia CEO Ben Legg. “This creates one of the largest, if not the largest—ad tech companies in Asia and rings in an enthusiastic, experienced team and their relationship from across the region,” he added.

The partnership between Axiata and Adknowledge is also pioneering consumer-friendly, brand-safe strategies to use telecom data to better target ads on social media networks across platforms including mobile.

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