MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday released P1.4 billion to fund the extended “Libreng Sakay” program on the Edsa Busway.
This is in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s order to extend the free rides on the busway until Dec. 31, the DBM said.
The agency said its chief Amenah Pangandaman approved the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) amounting to P1.4-billion to cover the additional funding requirements for the extended implementation “Libreng Sakay” program.
“Ito pong paglagak natin ng additional funds ay suporta natin sa hangad ni President Marcos na i-extend and programang Libreng Sakay ng Department of Transportation at ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board hanggang Disyembre,” Pangandaman said in a statement.
(These are the additional funds that will support the desire of President Marcos to extend the Libreng Sakay program of the Department of Transportation and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board until December.)
The Libreng Sakay program was set to end on July 31, but the President approved its extension until December this year.
“Malaking tulong at ginhawa po ang Libreng Sakay sa bulsa ng mga commuter, lalo na para sa mga estudyante at mga kabilang sa labor force (This program is a big help and relief to commuters, especially to students and employees). This will support up to 50-million ridership from September 1 until December 31,” the Budget Secretary said.
The funds will also benefit 628 units of onboarded public utility buses on the Edsa route.
“Magiging malaking tulong po ito sa kabuhayan ng mga driver ng EDSA Busway na hanggang ngayon ay bumabangon mula sa epekto ng pandemya, at apektado sa patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina,” Pangandaman said.
(This will significantly help the livelihood of drivers who are recovering from the pandemic and are also affected by the rising gasoline prices.)
The Service Contracting Program, which is under Libreng Sakay, provides financial support to transport service providers through performance-based payouts, DBM said.
The agency added that it was conceived to ensure efficient and safe operations of public transportation under the new normal condition for the benefit of the commuters, especially the students and workers traversing the EDSA route.