Honesty In Time of Crisis: Meet Davao's Honesty Jeepney

Honesty means being true to ourselves and to others. In difficult times, we look for people that we can trust and depend on. We can see it from a person's values and character. 

Many of us may have heard of the honesty system. I've seen that in several coffee shops and souvenir stores in the Philippines where customers leave their payment for the product they bought. In this system, everything is done through self-service. Customers can list down the items they are buying, leave the corresponding payment, and take their goods. They even collect their change by just getting it from the pool of money.

A different kind of honesty system, which became particularly useful in these adverse times, was the honesty jeepney that plied the streets of Davao City before an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was implemented. Instead of the usual way of having jeepney passengers pass on their payment from one to another until it reaches the driver, passengers of that jeep put their payment in containers that have been strategically placed and spaced out in the seats - in keeping with social distancing protocols.

Honesty In Time of Crisis: Davao's Honesty Jeepney
Honesty In Time of Crisis: Davao's Honesty Jeepney

A video that went viral on the internet since March 24 showed containers made of repurposed Shell Rimula engine oil plastic canisters were used not just to serve as dividers between passengers but to hold passengers fares. In the video, a passenger was also heard jokingly saying, "bawal kumupit"(stealing is not allowed).

repurposed Shell Rimula engine oil plastic canisters
A repurposed Shell Rimula engine oil plastic canisters used in collecting jeepney fare.

During pre-ECQ times when social distancing was especially important and contact must be minimized especially in usually crowded public transport, the honesty system in that jeep had been useful in ensuring that people were safe from coronavirus infection, even in public transportation. Because of strict social distancing rules, only six to 10 passengers were allowed at a time in jeepneys in Davao City. Jeepneys were still able to do their usual business in Davao City before an ECQ prevented them from operating last April 4.

Creativity amid adversity

Jefferson Camasin, the netizen who was able to capture the footage of the honesty jeepney, said that the driver was willing to risk losing profit just so his passengers could be safe and have less chances of catching the virus.

Camasin said that he and his fellow passengers praised the driver and supported the jeepneys honesty system by paying the correct fare. Some of them even gave tips, knowing how difficult it was to earn a living that time when jeepney drivers can only ferry a few passengers at a time. You can find the viral video here.

Amidst the difficulties, we can always find people who are trustworthy. Salute to this driver as well as to the passengers for inspiring us and showing the world how to be honest even in the simplest manner. In addition, it is during this challenging times that we should be more creative. Manong driver demonstrated how you can use a Shell Rimula engine oil plastic canisters as a means to maintain social distancing and preventing the spread of corona virus among his passengers.


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