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To continue “Libreng Sakay” on Edsa, DOTr plans to raise P1.4 billion.

The “Libreng Sakay” (free ride) program for the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) bus carousel route needs an additional PHP1.4 billion to be funded until the end of the year, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista stated that the existing budget for the free ride is insufficient if it is extended until December 31 in a Laging Handa briefing on Monday.

“If we need to extend it until December 31, we will petition the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] for additional funding. According to Bautista, “We will petition the president for help in order to receive such a budget at the DOTr. Hihingi kaming tulong sa presidente.”

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. gave the go-ahead for the extension of the free ride program on the Edsa carousel and for students riding the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3), Light Rail Transit-2, and Philippine National Railways on July 1, his first day in office.

In light of the growing costs of fuel and essential goods, the action is intended to “reduce the burden of rising living expenditures on Filipino families and help them save money.”

Bautista revealed plans to use other public transportation options with Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chair Cheloy Garafil to gain first-hand experience using public transportation today, similar to his surprise inspection of the MRT-3 and some line agencies of the DOTr.

“This morning I spoke with the LTFRB chair and I told her, let’s try riding the bus and the jeep and she said she’s up for it,” he said. “Kaninang umaga kausap ko ang chairman ng LTFRB at sinabi ko sa kanya, tayong dalawa let’s try riding the bus and the jeep and sabi niya, game daw siy

Earlier, Bautista predicted that the Marcos administration would modernize and raise the nation’s transportation infrastructure to international standards.

In order to do this, Bautista stated that the department would research and put into effect international standards in the road, rail, maritime, and air transportation sectors by adopting best practices from the sector.

“We will study the countries that have been successful at implementing their transport programs and we will adopt those that benefit passengers,” he said. “Pag-aaralan natin ano ginagawa ng mga bansa na successful in implementing their transport programs and we will adopt ‘yung mga programs nila na talaga namang nag-benefit ang mga passenger.”

He urged those who were riding to support the Marcos administration by obeying traffic laws and providing feedback to the appropriate authorities.

“We won’t be able to find the solution to all programs, but if you can give us suggestions and recommendations, you’ll be able to help us solve these problems,” he said. “Ang mga solusyon sa mga problema ay hindi namin lahat maiiisip pero kung magsasabi kayo ng suggestions and recommendations, matutulungan niyo kami ma-solve ang mga

The Edsa free travel scheme was extended to July 31 before the Marcos administration took office on July 1.

The LTFRB’s Service Contracting Phase 3 program, which funded the initiative, came to an end on June 30.

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