TAGBILARAN, Philippines — A city in the Philippines mandates all of its taxi drivers to paint Scripture on the back of their vehicles, also known as three-wheeled motorcycles, in an effort to curb crime in the city.
While the regulation in Tagbilaran has been in effect for over twenty years, reports have just recently highlighted the requirement.
“This is the only city in the Philippines that has such an ordinance,” Samuel Belderol, who issues taxi licenses at city hall, told reporters. “We want the world to know that we are a God-fearing city and that these Bible verses help us draw closer to God.”
“We only issue 3,000 licenses every year and each one must have a unique verse on it, no duplicate verses allowed,” he explained, nothing that the drivers are assigned a particular Bible verse.
Those that fail to have the Scripture painted on their taxis may be fined or have their license revoked.
City Council member Lucile Lagunay said that the presence of the verses has helped to change the atmosphere in the city, and has consequently lowered the crime rate.
“With a Biblical message at the back of the units, commuters get to see the message every day and it helps in way to preserve the peace in our city,” she stated. “Everyday commuters get to see the biblical message on the tricycles and who want to think of crime when they see biblical passages everywhere.”
Some of the verses painted on the taxis include, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul,” and “God loves a cheerful giver.”
“Years ago people used to paint obscene messages and images on their tricycles, but the city ordinance changed that,” Buala Siongiex, who has been painting verses on the motorcycles for two decades, stated. “Now when you read the word of God you can’t help but feel alive, even a little bit of God’s word makes you happy.”
While it is not clear how the law was passed or who was responsible for its passage, the vast majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholic, with an estimated 2.8 percent professing to be evangelical Christians as there are numerous Baptist, Pentecostal and non-denominational congregations throughout the nation as well.
As previously reported, in 2012, hundreds of Christians and other youth marched in Manila to protest a performance on the island by American pop star Lady Gaga. Dr. Benny Abante, former Manila congressman and pastor of Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church, took to the streets with approximately 70 youth from his church. He denounced Gaga’s song, “Born This Way,” which he believes is manipulative toward young people and promotes homosexuality.
“It is not only immoral, it is a blasphemy,” he told ABS-CBN News. “The Lord Jesus Christ is being maligned here and mocked.”
“[It’s] a direct affront to the moral and religious values that our nation has been known for,” Abante said.
Photo: CBN News screenshot