The Philippines is known for these. It became one of the most essential modes of transportation for Filipinos across the country. Recently, the Philippine government decided to phase it all out – just for the sake of modernization. Unfortunately, the modernization of jeepneys would cost more than its drivers would earn. Such an act caused them to lose their livelihoods as they crawl through bills after bills in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
Philippine government phases out jeepneys
This pandemic caused a lot of Filipinos to lose their jobs. With quarantines and lockdowns, the biggest hit would be on those who work in the travel and transportation industry. This worldwide situation crippled the economy and plunged it into recession. However, even as restrictions seem to lighten up, these jeepney drivers have yet to sit behind the wheel. Instead, they spend many days begging for alms just to get through the day.
The former Kings and Queens of the Filipino Road have been reduced to become beggars on the streets. Some of them even succumbed to homelessness as landlords evict them from their homes. Simply because they could no longer pay the rent. Aside from the pandemic, the PUJ Modernization Program also forces these drivers to be out of work. Meanwhile, operators, drivers, and many sectors believe and describe this program as an anti-poor movement.
What Everyone Should Know About The PUJ Modernization Program
The jeepneys became the most reliable and affordable means of public transportation in the Philippines. However, like any other vehicle, it runs on petrol. Sure, it highly contributes to pollution and climate change. In response, the Duterte administration created the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program. This sets to implement programs to provide safe, environment-friendly, and efficient public transportation service.
According to this program, one “advantage” of modernization would be punctuality. Heavy traffic remains one of the bigger problems in the country. Apparently, through this program, changes in jeepney routes will take effect. Supposedly, it will lead to faster and more predictable commuting time. But, as a commuter myself, wouldn’t this cause a lot more people to wait alongside the road because they couldn’t find a vehicle to ride to work or school or wherever they need to go?
Main Disadvantage of the Modernization Program
As said earlier, operators, drivers, and many sectors believe and describe this program as an anti-poor movement. Modern units are expensive. The cost of this new vehicle varies, but they cost at least Php 1.6-million and above. Sure, the Land Bank of the Philippines offers loans, and the government commits an added assistance. Even if that’s the case, the cost remains way beyond the financial capacity of many operators and drivers – especially during this pandemic.
Filipino student releases documentary about phasing out of jeepneys
In response to the PUJ Modernization, a Filipino student released a short documentary that involved jeepney drivers. Arianna currently studies BA Communication – Digital Cinema student in FEU Manila. She recently made a documentary about these drivers. Both the ongoing pandemic and jeepney phaseout affected their livelihoods. Aside from that, she also initiated a donation drive for them and their families.
You can watch the documentary here.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.