By Valerie Weigmann | @vweigmann on Instagram
I spent the better part of my childhood in a country with efficient mass public transport and a progressive social welfare support system. I miss many of the things I took for granted there. I chose to live here because of family, the incredible network of friends we casually call “barkada,” the numerous beaches one will not run out of discovering, and the food—yes the oft-unappreciated Filipino cuisine.
What I HATE about living here? The choking polluting, reckless driving, and undisciplined system embodied by the JEEPNEY. I’ve been told countless times that the Jeepney is a cultural icon embodying Filipino ingenuity. I respectfully disagree. I believe it embodies our lack of political will, our default mode of lazy acceptance.
Did you know that there are no new Jeepneys? The Jeepneys you see on the streets are 15 to 20 years old, using refurbished diesel engines. Did you know that 70% of the air pollution in Metro Manila is caused by Jeepneys? Or that over half of medicines sold are for respiratory diseases? That same Jeepney that just almost hit or run over you? Happy you were able to run and avoid it? Well that Jeepney still killed you—with its smoke belching.
What’s worse is, we’re not the only ones being victimized—the drivers themselves are victims. They work long hours and earn a pittance. The oppressive economics behind the boundary system also leads to their reckless driving behavior—leading to even more problems like accidents and, yes you guessed it, traffic.
By all means let’s keep the tradition of keeping the Jeepney and its beautiful art and colors alive. But come on, we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to at least make an improvement.
And that’s what this whole rant is about—we want to modernize the Jeepney. My friends and I are pushing for the use of Electric Vehicles (or other alternatively fueled vehicles) to replace the diesel-guzzling, smoke-belching Jeepney. We call them E-Jeepneys. You may have seen them in Makati, Filinvest City, or at the Ateneo campus.
There are about 80 E-Jeepneys operating daily on our streets. That’s 80 out of more than 250,000 diesel jeepneys.
Do the math.
Help us out.
By us meaning me, you, everyone, and this world we call home.
www.facebook.com/AdoptaneJeepney #goelectric #eveei #evap #adoptanejeepney
PMAP Talks is the official Lifestyle column of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines. Visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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Photographs from Valerie Weigmann