The Philippines counts with a community of more than 500.000 Jeepney drivers, but only a small percentage of this group has been allowed to currently operate due to the Covid-19 restrictions. This context is threatening the survival of a symbol of the Philippines’ history, economy, and culture. That´s why FBM took a move to help Jeepney Drivers in Pasay, Paranaque, Manila, and Quezon City in one action coordinated by PAGCOR – Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation. Before sharing more details about FBM’s gesture, let´s understand the jeepney’s relevance in the Philippines:
THE HISTORY OF JEEPNEYS
The Jeepney origin takes us to World War II. After the conflict, the abandoned American jeeps were reused and modified by the Philippine people. A new cultural symbol was born and rapidly jeepneys emerged as a system of urban transportation across all the country.
The iconic vehicles reveal a distinct aesthetics that breaks with the normal traffic patterns created by cars and buses. Described as classic models, these vehicles full of sticks and airbrushed designs were the most popular form of mobility in the Philippine soil for decades.
Jeepneys are now one of the solutions of a more complex transport system and serve as a backup solution for the country´s transport system. The jeepneys are evolving from crowded seating vehicles to more modern and ecological models. Despite that, they keep an essential role to ensure sustainable mobility and economy in the country.
THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIMENSION OF THE JEEPNEYS
When we analyze the social landscape of the Philippines, jeepneys are also a prominent figure since there are thousands of families dependent on the incomes that result from the operation of these vehicles. This is also one indicator of the jeepney´s economic role.
According to the Guardian, a driver can collect between 500 and 1000 pesos of daily revenue. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, only a small percentage of the drivers came back to work and these drivers had to reduce the capacity of their vehicle, following the health and safety recommendations. This fact lets families struggling to find a solution that guarantees their financial stability.
For the common citizens, jeepneys are also fundamental to keep the financial balance. A jeepney fare typically costs about 9 pesos (US$ 0.40), while trains, taxis, or motorized tricycles are more expensive. As a consequence, the jeepney absence hurts the families´ budget, when they have one or more workers who commute daily. That is another reason why jeepneys play a fundamental role in the Philippine society.
THREE EXAMPLES OF THE JEEPNEYS CULTURAL EXPRESSION
“Jeepney” – this movie lets us know the cultural and social climate of the Philippines through its most popular form of transportation. The movie follows jeepney artists, drivers, and passengers’ stories.
“Jeepney Through The Town” – this is a teaching book for simple Tagalog words, addressing the cultural importance of respecting elders. The book also contains activities designed to explore the personal creativity of readers.
“Jeepney Patok Music” – in Spotify you can find a playlist dedicated to Jeepney Patok Music with songs played by the drivers. In this collection, you will find a wave, popish dance, and disco hits to prepare you for a proper jeepney ride.
THE FBM GESTURE TO HELP JEEPNEY DRIVERS
FBM donated 5,000 essential kits to the Jeepney Drivers in Pasay, Paranaque, Manila, and Quezon City. PAGCOR – Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation coordinated this initiative that involved also the four cities. Each kit contains food and health essential goods. This action will impact thousands of families that are now struggling financially to survive. That’s the main reason why FBM contacted PAGCOR in order to take concrete action on the rescue of one of the Philippines symbols.