This blog post is a personal take of a young college student who rides jeepneys everyday. She values them as part of our culture and heritage and very much a part of the Filipino living that we can encourage tourists to experience for themselves. Just recently, a news report bubbled up that jeepneys should be replaced with a new and more organized mode of transportation. Should we? Please answer our poll below after reading this blog post. Thanks!
Have you ever wondered what our country would become without the jeepneys? Well, you certainly cannot find any place in the country with no jeepneys running around, can you? For as long as anybody can remember, the so-called “Hari ng Kalsada” has been the icon of Philippine travel since the 1950s, which prove its worth to be a regarded as a rugged representation of Philippine culture and a national pride.
Even Greg Rodgers of goasia.about.com writes, “Let Thailand keep their sputtering tuk-tuks, India their creaky rickshaws – the indestructible jeepneys have been faithfully rumbling throughout the Philippine archipelago since the 1950s…riding in jeepneys is an authentic experience not to be missed in the Philippines!”
So, why are we even considering of scraping it off the economy?
In an article by Kim Luces of GMA News Online, it was conveyed that the transportation sector adviser Rene Santiago intends to replace jeepneys with the City Optimized Managed Electric Transportation (COMET) – an electric vehicle with an organized and centrally-managed system. Also, Santiago said that jeepneys are not to be considered as an icon of pride anymore but as a symbol of shame.
Isn’t it sad that even our government officials do not embrace our own culture? Instead, they opt for a change that erases our Filipino trademark. Can we still whole-heartedly proclaim to the tourists that it’s MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES if we have a travel system that works just like theirs?
Notice the street scenario in New York City, it’s just the same crowded and polluted road setting we have here in the Philippines – only that yellow cabs or buses are the source of the smog and congestion and not some rusty old jeepney. Don’t get me wrong – change is good but it doesn’t mean that if you can, you should.
I, for one, complain a lot whenever there is a jeepney strike on weekdays; if you’re part of the jeepney-riding public, I’m sure you did, too.
If only we are reasonable enough we could have realized that despite the jeepneys being the major source of air pollution and traffic congestion in our country, we cannot deny the fact that we still do need them, as well grasping the thought that, yes, the jeepneys might be truly outdated someday but, as of now, let’s just keep them listed in our Definitely Filipino List!
(Blog post is written by Renra Faith C. Sayon, USJ-R Masscom Intern)