MANILA (SE): The colourful, iconic trademark of Philippine transport, the humble jeepney could be reaching the end of its long road, as the Department of Transportation and Communications has announced plans to phase it out in favour of a more modern people-mover network.
But apart from easing road congestion, a major attraction for foreign adventurers will be removed, as a ride on a jeepney is a must for having more fun in The Philippines. But labour leaders are pointing to widespread human collateral damage.
They warn that the proposed phase-out scheme would affect the livelihood of at least 600,000 jeepney drivers and more than 250,000 operators nationwide, as well as compromising convenient, door-to-door transport with nightmare bus queues or overcrowded, distant light rail.
However, the jeepney is already responsible for human collateral damage, as the toxic fumes emitted from low-grade fuel it burns is a major cause of both lung and eye disease.
The challenge to somehow keep the iconic vehicles without damaging the environment has been judged too great by the government department.
So it could spell the end of the brightly coloured convenience and unique hallmark of the Philippine landscape.
Nevertheless it was its unique value that the Philippine Consulate General put on display as its prime attraction for this year’s Hong Kong Flower Show in Victoria Park.
But instead of the nauseating toxic exhaust fumes, this one exudes the sweet aroma of flower power, as its coat of native Filipino Everlasting Flowers, with their intense blooms and papery appearance, wrap it as an easily recognisable symbol of all things Philippine.