“Would Jesus Ride Jeepneys in the Philippines?” You can tell a guy has way too much time on his hands when he starts asking himself questions like this. However, unproductive mitts are the devil’s sweatshop. Better to keep the ol’ noggin’ working at my advanced age.
Graphic Source: The Southeast Asia Subregion of the Catholic Biblical Federation
Diesel-powered Smoke Belchers
But my recent post which dealt with a public utility vehicle, PUV, in Iloilo, killing an American expat motorcyclist, got me to thinking. And yes, regular readers of “Philippines Plus” know that’s something I’m not prone to do very often.
Jeepneys are a cheap, filthy, uncomfortable and often dangerous mode of travel in the Philippines. These public utility vehicles, PUVs, are diesel-powered smoke belchers who think they own the road.
No Regard for the Rules of the Road
The lack of discipline shown by many jeepney operators is appalling. Many drivers think nothing of stopping anywhere on the road to let off—and wait—for passengers, while stopping traffic behind them.
Many of them absolutely have no regard for other motorists and make up their own “rules of the road.”
These rust buckets-on-wheels are a major cause of air pollution, traffic congestion and accidents.
“Would Jesus Ride Jeepneys in the Philippines?”
But back to my original question, would Jesus ride jeepneys in the Philippines? I could imagine “The Prince of Peace” boarding a jeepney in Iloilo City where we do a lot of shopping. Jeeps are a cheap way to get around Iloilo City Proper or any city in the archipelago.
“The Carpenter from Nazareth” was not a rich man. It would make sense for Him to take a jeepney along with his “peeps,” the apostles.
“Come on, hop on!” the Son of God exhorts Peter, Paul and Mary as a group of white-shirted, skinny black-tied Mormons scoot over to make room.
“Hey, Thomas, you getting on?” asks the Good Shepard.
“I doubt it,” replies the wavering apostle.
“Who’s got seven pesos I can borrow?” asks Matthew the Tax Collector.
“Not me,” replies Luke the Physician, “my last patient paid me with a scrawny chicken.”
“I’ve got 30 pieces of silver!” cries out Judas, “but I owe Matthew back taxes.”
“I’ve got you covered Luke,” says Jesus as he turns one peso into seven, the standard peso fare.
What’s Your Chances of Dying from a Traffic Accident in the Philippines?
But I have to wonder, would Jesus really ride jeepneys in the Philippines? They can be dangerous. But how many people actually die every year on roads in the Philippines?
Based on 2013 data from the Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highway-Traffic Accident Recording and Analysis System, 1,513 people have died due to road accidents.
The World Health Organization, WHO, however, has put the Philippine estimate much higher at 10,379 fatalities. That’s a huge discrepancy.
Who am I going to believe? Though I’m no big fan of the United Nations or any of its affiliates, I’m more inclined to believe their figures than statistics from a Filipino government entity.
Motorcyclists Lead the Worldwide Death Count
The WHO reports road traffic deaths globally have remained constant at 1.25 million people.
However, motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable, comprising 23% of road traffic deaths in the world.
The Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions record the highest proportion in this area, with a third of all road traffic deaths involving motorcycle riders.
Road Safety Measures in the Philippines are Sorely Lacking
While the Philippines has laws regulating speed limit, mandating the use of motorcycle helmets and seatbelts, and prohibiting drunk driving, these laws have not been sufficiently implemented.
Numerous times on this website have I mentioned that fact. The lack of enforcement is a huge problem in the Philippines but one that doesn’t seem to bother many people.
The WHO Rates the Philippines
According to the WHO, the Philippines got a 5 out of 10 rating in the implementation of the speed limit law and seatbelt law.
It got a 6 out of 10 rating in the implementation of the motorcycle helmet law, but the WHO noted that the law does not require the helmet to be fastened correctly. I’ve previously noted an unscientific sampling I did of 1,000 motorcyclists on our island province of Guimaras.
Less than 10% of the drivers and passengers wore helmets. And this poll was done on one of the main streets of San Miguel, Jordan, the capitol, right past the local Jordan police station!
In the enforcement of the drunk driving law, the Philippines got a dismal 1 out of 10 rating. Republic Act 10586, or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, seeks to penalize drivers whose blood alcohol content exceeds the allowable legal limit.
In March 2017, the Land Transportation Office obtained breath analyzers to conduct spot checks on motorists suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol.
Well, let’s hope the law enforcement officials that obtained those tools know how to use them. The WHO gave eight such units to our local peace officers in Guimaras years ago. Last report indicates the analyzers are still sitting unused in a Guimaras police station. Why? No one knows how to use them.
“Would Jesus Ride a Motorcycle in Iloilo City?”
So maybe the question should be this: “Would Jesus Ride a Motorcycle in Iloilo City?” or anywhere else in the Philippines for that matter.
My answer to that question would be probably not.
But, why, you might ask? Wasn’t Jesus the Son of God and even raised people from the dead. True, but remember the Savior’s 40-day temptation in the wilderness? C’mon, I bet you heathens out there even remember that one.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted, tested, by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. After refusing Satan’s offer to turn stones into bread, Lucifer took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4: 1-11)
Jesus Never Flipped Anyone Off
So there you have it. If Jesus would be roaring down the road on a Harley, it seems to me that He, indeed, would be putting the Lord God to the test.
While I’ve been on hundreds of jeepney rides in Iloilo City and Guimaras during the past eight years, I’ve never felt I’ve been putting God to the test.
I’ve never had a pickpocket steal anything from me on a jeepney and I’ve never felt threatened from other passengers.
OK, there was that time years ago when some teen-aged punks with multi-colored hair asked me for money at an Iloilo City jeepney stop.
I said, in no uncertain terms, “no!”
The juvenile delinquents, however, continued to ask for money, hands outstretched.
“Don’t you understand English?” I inquired.
I then boarded the jeepney with my asawa in front of me as the trio of beggars ran after the jeep. I flipped them off as the vehicle sped away and asked: “Do you understand this?”
I think they did.