Oliver Bugarin 4 0 0 3 min to read

To continue financing “Libreng Sakay,” DOTr will partner with OVP.

After no funding was included for the program in the proposed national budget for 2023, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is considering a renewed partnership with the Office of the Vice President (OVP) to continue its “Libreng Sakay (free ride)” initiative.

The free ride program offered “transport assistance” during the pandemic, according to DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista’s statement on Wednesday. Still, given the limitations of the national budget, its long-term viability cannot be contested.

According to Bautista, we acknowledge that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has the authority to allocate funds for “Libreng Sakay” by the government’s fiscal priorities and with the appropriate congressional permission.

The DOTr director still declared that he is “more than prepared” to work with the OVP to maintain the free ride initiative that was started on August 3 with five buses to assist commuters in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

According to DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor, the DBM denied the DOTr’s request for a PHP778 million budget for the modernization of public utility vehicles (PUVs) in 2023, which included money for the free-riding program.

For its free-riding program, the OVP has allocated PHP32.5 million, on the other hand.

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