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“The Future of a Filipino Icon, the Jeepney, and the Role of Manufacturing”

April 8 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

The Political Economy Program (PEP), UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies, is organizing a roundtable discussion (RTD), “The Future of a Filipino Icon, the Jeepney, and the Role of Manufacturing” on 8 April 2024, 9:00 am – 12 noon via Zoom. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but participants are encouraged to register.


The Roundtable

Headlining the RTD are Francisco Motors and Sarao Motors, Inc., who will present their proposals for jeepney modernization.

Seeking to promote an inclusive and Filipino innovation-driven Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), the roundtable aims to:

Shine a light on the jeepney manufacturers’ proposals and plans in response to the PUV Modernization Program

Explore the possibility of tapping more affordable clean and green technologies for the jeepney in the transition to a low or zero carbon emission future;

Promote collaboration among manufacturers, government, university research and development community, jeepney drivers and other stakeholders on the issue of jeepney modernization; and

Develop a set of recommendations for government agencies and financial institutions.


Mr. Teodoro C. Mendoza
Science Director, Community Legal Help and Policy Center

Mr. Elmer Francisco
Owner and CEO, Francisco Motors

Ar. Leonard John Sarao
Operations Supervisor, Sarao Motors, Inc.

Other experts from the UP Diliman research and development community have been invited as speakers/reactors.


A legacy of the post-war era, the first jeepneys were made by reconfiguring military vehicles left behind by the departing American troops into open-aired public utility vehicles. Leading this effort of providing an affordable and accessible mode of transportation for working-class commuters were domestic manufacturers, notably, Francisco Motors and Sarao Motors. Since then small makers have joined the industry, making the jeepney a ubiquitous presence in the country’s not only in the urban landscape, but also in the rural areas where public transportation is scarce.

Today, this heritage vehicle that has become a Filipino icon may soon be a thing of the past. The Philippine government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), launched in 2017 aimed at making public transport system “safer and more efficient, convenient, and reliable”, has sought to phase out the traditional jeepneys, replacing them with imported bigger, airconditioned electric vehicles – each estimated to cost between P1.3 million to P3 million. Noteworthy, while the PUVMP’s aims are laudable, it is short on options that would allow Filipino manufacturers to modernize the jeepneys partly by tapping homegrown innovations and thus provide a path for jeepney drivers to own their own vehicles, without losing their autonomy.


The PEP was established in 2019 to undertake problem-solving, evidence-based research aimed at promoting sustainable, equitable, and innovation-driven development policies, programs, and practices. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach that combines policy and technology innovation as well as multi-stakeholders’ participation and collaboration. Learn more about PEP and download their publications for free.


April 8
9:00 am - 12:00 pm