‘Libreng Sakay’ has P2.16B for 2023 | Inquirer News

‘Libreng Sakay’ has P2.16B for 2023

‘Libreng Sakay’has P 2.16B for 2023

Commuters queue to ride the EDSA Bus Carousel in Monumento, Caloocan City. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Contrary to the claim of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) was allotted P2.16 billion for the government’s Libreng Sakay (free ride, in Filipino), Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said on Friday.

“The ‘Libreng Sakay’ program has benefited hundreds of thousands of our commuters, who have been clamoring for its continuation as a way to ease their burden from the rising costs of fuel and basic goods and commodities,” Angara said in a statement.


“These days, every peso counts and whatever little savings that could be realized is highly appreciated,” he said.


Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, said there was no reason for the DOTr to end the program next year as lawmakers allotted the “substantial amount” of P2.16 billion in the 2023 budget for the program.

Congressional initiative

He said the DOTr’s public utility vehicle service contracting program was initially not funded under the spending plan Malacañang submitted to Congress, but the legislature, on its own initiative, allocated P2.16 billion for the program.

He said the allotment included P1.285 billion in programmed appropriations and a separate P875 million in “unprogrammed appropriations,” or lump-sum budget items, in the government’s annual spending plan.

The DOTr has not responded to the Inquirer’s request for clarification regarding Angara’s statement.

Bautista said on Wednesday that passengers of the Edsa Bus Carousel will have to pay starting Jan. 1.Bautista said the government would instead privatize the Edsa Bus Carousel to “conform with international standards.”

No terms of reference for the privatization have been made public. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has recorded a total of 80,832,186 passengers who benefited from Libreng Sakay since the start of the program.


ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, House deputy minority leader, opposed the privatization and said Filipinos need relief from inflation.

Jeep routes resumed

“The planned privatization of the Edsa bus carousel would just be another burden to commuters because it would mean higher bus fares for them,” Castro said. The LTFRB had ordered the resumption of operations of prepandemic routes for more than 7,600 jeepneys in Metro Manila.

In a statement on Thursday, LTFRB Chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III said the agency had anticipated an increased demand in public transportation. “We hope the reverting of these routes to their old structures will provide the riding public more convenience in reaching their destinations,” he added.

In Memorandum Circular No. 2022-084 dated Dec. 16, the LTFRB ordered the resumption of operations of 122 traditional and 13 modernized public utility jeepney routes, which were closed during the pandemic.

The LTFRB said it would also open an additional 28 routes to cover areas in Manila, Parañaque, Makati, Pasay, Marikina, Pasig, Makati and Quezon City. INQ


Goodbye Libreng Sakay: EDSA Carousel free ride ending by yearend

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Calls for Edsa busway privatization get louder

TAGS: DoTr, Libreng Sakay

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