DOTr: No budget for ‘Libreng Sakay’ program for 2022
MANILA, Philippines — No funds are allotted in the 2022 national budget for the ‘Libreng Sakay Program’ that seeks to aid both commuters and public utility drivers (PUV) amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Wednesday.
During the House deliberations on the 2022 budget, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade appealed to Congress to restore the budget for the program, which seeks to give commuters free rides and provide incentives to PUV drivers who are participating in the initiative.
Earlier in the same hearing, Transportation Undersecretary Giovanni Lopez disclosed that they proposed P10 billion for the Service Contracting Program (SCP) which is in line with the Libreng Sakay Program, but this was rejected by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“Kaya nga ho ngayon nagsusumamo at nakikiusap ko, please tulungan nyo po kami. Tulungan nyo kaming magkaroon ng budget para sa libreng sakay at service contracting,” Tugade said.
(We are pleading, please help us. Help us have a budget for the Libreng Sakay Program and the Service Contracting Program.)
According to Tugade, even before the Libreng Sakay Program and SCP were implemented last year, the DOTr was already providing free ride services catering to 3 million commuters.
“Ngayon, doon ho sa libreng sakay na kasama yung Bayanihan 2, in a period of two and a half months only, and ridership niyan pumalo sa 35 million. Ano yung ibig sabihin? May pangangailangan yung sambayanan,” he added.
(Now with the free ride under the Bayanihan Law, in a period of two and a half months only, the ridership reached 35 million. What does this mean? There is a need from the public.)
Under the SCP, drivers are given incentives based on the number of trips they made per week, regardless of the number of passengers they were able to service.
However, Lopez said the proposed budget was not included by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in the 2022 National Expenditure Program.
“Talagang kailangan po namin ‘yung pondo para doon sa service contracting. Hindi lang ho ang makikinabang jan yung konduktor, yung driver, ‘yung tsuper, hindi lang ho yung mga pasahero, buong ekonomiya ho yan,” Tugade said.
(We really need the funds for the service contracting. The whole economy will benefit from this, not just the drivers, the conductors, the commuters.)
“Kasi kailangan ‘yan pagpasok sa trabaho, pamalengke, pagpasok sa eskwelahan (Because it is needed to go to work, market, go to schools),” he added.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.