The PLDT senior vice president closed his letter to me with the comment that anyway most people give their residential phone number to those they expect will call them so that this single listing is seldom an issue. By his quaint reasoning, PLDT therefore should not put out a residential listing at all.
But some classmates I have had no contact with for decades have tried calling me and other Alabang residents for a reunion, the next homecoming being our golden jubilee year. There were also total strangers who wanted to talk business with me. I am a practicing business consultant. They did not find my name in the phone book.
They did not think of looking for my name in the Metro Suburban listing because they have known all these years that Muntinlupa has been part of Metro Manila from the time that political division was created to give then First Lady Imelda Marcos her own fiefdom. They did not even know that such a directory exists as PLDT does not give copies to the “urban” subscribers. They called Directory Assistance to get my number. Now there is a charge for using that service. Both Directory Assistance and the Suburban Listing give only one number, and it is not the one I have had since I moved to this “suburb” in 1983.
Typhoon Yoyong knocked out of commission one of my two phone lines. I tried calling Repairs several times Friday and Saturday. All I got each time was a recording that said that all operators were busy at the moment but that my call was on queue and an operator would attend to me soon as they value my call. On Saturday evening, I patiently waited for one hour, 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm (I watched TV at the same time), for an operator to attend to my call. All for naught. I just heard the same recording over and over again at irregular intervals of 50 to 90 seconds.
I finally got to talk to a repairman Sunday afternoon. He assured me that he would report the trouble and that I could expect action soon. Well, as of the deadline for this column, more than a week from the time a repairman said I could expect action soon, the line at issue is still dead.
I write all this because PLDT has just introduced Business Solutions. The full-page full-color ad which had appeared at unusually high frequency (three times in one week in the same paper) says: “It’s a commitment to create possibilities and initiate movements, to ignite new ideas that will bring forth development to your business, just so we can prove we are a company you can trust…It’s a boundless pledge of service, an endless search for answers. It has a beginning, but it never ends. That’s what makes us different.”
The gall of a company that took eight months to rectify a simple billing error, that cannot produce a handy directory listing all its metropolitan subscribers, that cannot provide the personnel to adequately man its customer service stations, that takes more than a week, maybe longer, to repair a line to make such pompous promises. What audacity to commit to bringing forth development to people’s business, to make a boundless pledge of service when not only can it not provide the basic service that its paying customers are entitled to, the company causes them considerable aggravation, even loss of business opportunities.