PRESIDENT Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. on Friday approved a memorandum submitted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) seeking to extend the free EDSA Carousel bus rides and provide free rides for students who will be using the MRT-3, LRT-2, and PNR when in-person classes resume in August.
The memo resulted from President Marcos’ recent meeting with transport officials headed by DOTr Secretary Jaime J. Bautista and Executive Secretary Atty. Vic Rodriguez in Malacañang Palace.
“Considering the availability of budget for Service Contracting under GA 2022, the undersigned recommends the continuation of the Libreng Sakay Program for all passengers of the EDSA Bus Carousel,” a portion of the DOTr memo read.
The move will ease the burden of rising living expenses on Filipino families and help them save money, especially with the return of face-to-face classes after more than two years.
The extended Free EDSA Carousel bus rides will last until December 2022.
The DOTr will also implement the Libreng Sakay for Students Program in MRT-3, LRT-2, and the PNR while simultaneously recommending halting free rides for all MRT-3 passengers.
According to the DOTr, current MRT-3 fares are already heavily subsidized, which was vital in its decision to recommend discontinuing the free rides for all MRT-3 passengers.
“Considering the welfare of students, however, whose learning outcomes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, the undersigned recommends implementing a Libreng Sakay for Students Program for the First Quarter of School Year 2022-2023, or from 22 August 2022 to 04 November 2022. The Libreng Sakay for students will be implemented in MRT-3. LRT-2, and PNR,” DOTr Secretary Bautista said.
The Department of Education (DepEd), now under Vice-President Sara Duterte, estimates that more than 38,000 schools in the country are already set for the resumption of face-to-face classes for the school year 2022-2023.