Senate of the Philippines

Libreng Sakay to receive P2.16-billion funding in 2023

Lance Spencer Yu
Libreng Sakay to receive P2.16-billion funding in 2023

LIBRENG SAKAY. Commuters take advantage of the free ride of the EDSA busway at the Monumento stop in Caloocan during the start of the 24/7 Libreng Sakay program of the Department of Transportation on Thursday night, December 1.

Rappler

This comes as the Department of Transportation says plans are in the works to continue Libreng Sakay

MANILA, Philippines – Free rides under the government’s Libreng Sakay program has funding to continue next year, Senator Sonny Angara said.

“A substantial amount was included by Congress under the 2023 General Appropriations Act to ensure the continuous implementation of the program,” the senator said in a statement on Friday, December 30.

Under next year’s national budget, the public utility vehicle service contracting program is set to receive P2.16 billion in funding, with P1.285 billion in programmed appropriations and P875 million in unprogrammed appropriations.

“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,” said Angara, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) had previously announced that paid fares will resume for the EDSA Carousel route starting January 1, at 5 am. The DOTr later clarified, however, that plans are already in the works for the continuation of the service contracting program. (READ: Libreng Sakay may return; transport group opposes EDSA Carousel privatization)

Sa susunod na taon, mayroong aprubadong P1.285 billion para sa service contracting program sa ilalim naman ng 2023 GAA. Kaugnay nito, nagsasagawa na ng plano ang DOTr at ang LTFRB sa muling pagpapatupad ng programa sa buong bansa katuwang ang LGUs,” the DOTr said in a statement on Thursday, December 29.

(Next year, there is an approved P1.285 billion for the service contracting program under the 2023 GAA. Given this, the DOTr and the LTFRB are already planning on how to implement the program again nationwide in cooperation with LGUs.)

The DOTr has yet to give further details on what the reimplementation of the program may look like.

For Angara, the continuation of the Libreng Sakay program will help Filipinos as they grapple with the rising cost of goods and inflation.

Malaking bagay ang pagpapatuloy ng Libreng Sakay sa panahon na ito lalo na at mabigat pa din ang pasanin ng karamihan ng ating mga kababayan dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng mga bilihin,” he added. (The continuation of Libreng Sakay is a big help in this time, especially now that most of us are burdened by the continued rise of prices.)

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Dapat lang natin siguraduhin na sapat ang mga bus na maghahatid sa ating mga mananakay para hindi maipon ang mga pila at makarating nang maayos ang pasahero sa kanilang mga destinasyon,” Angara added. (We must make sure that we have enough buses to serve our commuters so that they don’t pile up, and that passengers reach their destination well.)

The EDSA Carousel has served at least 80,832,186 total passengers, according to a report by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday, December 27. The DOTr reported an average of 389,579 passengers riding the EDSA Carousel buses daily. – Rappler.com

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