In line with the directive of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. to extend “Libreng Sakay” along the EDSA Busway until December 31, 2022, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, the funding to support the extended implementation of the Service Contracting of Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Program, the program that funds free rides for commuters along the EDSA Carousel Route.
DBM Secretary Amenah F. 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 of the Service Contracting Program, which supports the mobility requirements of students and the labor force.
"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," the Budget Chief emphasized.
It may be recalled that the program was set to end on July 31, but President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. announced 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 will support up to 50-million ridership from September 1 until December 31," the Budget Secretary highlighted.
Aside from this, Secretary Pangandaman noted that the release of funds for the Service Contracting Program will benefit around 628 units of onboarded Public Utility Buses (PUBs) on the EDSA Busway Route in the National Capital Region.
"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," Sec. Pangandaman underscored.
The Service Contracting Program provides financial support to transport service providers through performance-based payouts. It was conceived to ensure efficient and safe operations of public transportation under the new normal condition for the benefit of the commuters, especially for students and the labor force traversing the EDSA route.