‘Biyaheng looban?’ Manila City Jail’s free rides during transport strike earns buzz

March 7, 2023 - 11:54 AM
Manila City Jail_free ride
Commuters avail of free rides offered by the male dormitory of the Manila City Jail amid the transport strike of drivers and operators of traditional jeepneys and UV Express on March 6, 2023 (BJMP-Manila City Jail-Male Dorm/Facebook)

Pictures of a Manila City Jail bus offering free rides to the public amid the week-long transportation strike gained buzz on social media.

Traditional jeepney and UV Express operators and drivers are holding mass demonstrations from March 6 to 12 in response to the government’s planned public utility vehicle modernization program.

The program mandates franchise holders to join cooperatives and buy modern jeepneys that cost around P2.8 million each.

Major transport group PISTON said that the program would kill the livelihood of small-time jeepney operators who cannot afford to join cooperatives.

In response to the mass demonstrations, local government units and other entities have offered free rides to commuters to augment the expected decrease in available transportation.

Among them was the male dormitory of the Manila City Jail, which offered buses from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) plying the routes of Monumento-Quiapo-Baclaran and vice-versa.

BJMP officials also held information drives to passengers about laws such as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children, Safe Space Act, and other policies like anti-smoking, anti-drug abuse, and Executive Order 70.

It said that it would offer free rides for the entire duration of the transport strike.

Pictures of BJMP’s bus amused Filipinos after some commuters shared their experiences online.

This is because its buses have the huge label “MANILA CITY JAIL” in front. The windows are also heavily grilled to prevent detainees from escaping whenever the bureau transports them.

Some of those who shared their experiences are Facebook user Allan Misalucha, who took a picture and video of his ride on Monday morning.

“Salamat, MANILA CITY JAIL, akala ko [biyaheng] looban na ako kanina,” he wrote with emojis of a pensive face and grinning-face-with-sweat.

Misalucha also added the hashtag “#WalangJeep” in his post.

In the comments, Misalucha was asked how being transported in a prison bus felt.

“Enjoy naman, [ganoon] pala feeling,” he responded with emojis of a grinning-face-with-sweat and a grinning-squinting face.

His picture also made its way to some Facebook pages and groups.

“Wala na daw warrant kasi kusa ka naman daw pumasok.
#NoToJeepneyPhaseout,” personal blog “Batas for Every Juan” said, referring to an arrest warrant.

It also edited the picture with the text that reads: “‘Yung nakisakay ka lang tapos sa presinto ka na daw magpaliwanag.”

It was posted on the Facebook group “Homepaslupa Buddies 3.0” where it has earned a whopping number of 47,000 pure laughing reactions, 2,900 comments, and over 37 shares on the platform.

The picture also made its way to Twitter, where an online user wrote: “P2Piitan”

P2P is short for point-to-point bus.

Apart from LGUs and other government agencies, some lawmakers also offered alternative modes of transportation on the first day of the protests.

RELATED: Own rides? Arjo Atayde office explains ’37 vehicles’ during strike

The PUV modernization program was started by the Duterte administration in 2017 with the goal of making the country’s public transport efficient and environment-friendly by 2020.