'Bahagi ng ating kultura': Solon appeals to keep iconic look of PUJs in modern jeeps

The iconic look of traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs) must be kept in the ongoing and painstaking switch to modern jeep models.


AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee made this appeal to transportation agencies Thursday, March 9 during the House Committee on Transportation's public briefing on the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, which covers PUJs.

During the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) briefing, Lee asked the agency to come up with a single design, resembling the iconic style of the traditional jeepney, that both local and foreign manufacturers can assemble and compete selling in the market.

“Mahalaga po na ma-retain ang iconic design ng traditional jeepney dahil nakatatak na ito bilang bahagi ng ating kultura at identidad (It's important to retain the iconic design of the traditional jeep since this is imprinted in our culture and identity)," the rookie congressman said.

"Mahirap naman kung iba-iba ang hitsura ng jeepney. Yung nakikita kasi natin ngayon na pumapasada, hindi naman mukhang jeepney, kundi mas mukhang mini-bus (Having jeepneys with varying looks would be difficult. What we're seeing plying the routes right now don't even resemble jeepneys, they look more like mini-buses)," Lee noted.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Board Member Riza Marie Paches said during the hearing that there are a total of 106 models of modern PUVs have been given Certificates of Compliance (COC) by the Philippine National Standards.

Thirty-nine out of the 106 models are locally manufactured. There are 13 local manufacturers-slash-assemblers of modern PUVs.

The PUJs--which have ruled Philippine roads for decades--were designed after the American jeeps of World War II.

"Huwag nating hayaang mawala ang iconic design ng jeepney tulad ng pagkawala ng mga kalesa (Let's not allow the iconic design of the jeeepney to disappear, like what happened to horse carriages),” Lee said.

“Then we can mass produce our iconic jeepney with the necessary upgrades that can create a new industry na pwede pa natin ma-export pagdating ng panahon (that we will be able to export someday),” he added.