Solon welcomes extension of Libreng Sakay for EDSA Carousel

Published July 3, 2022, 2:27 PM

by Seth Cabanban

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. Luis “LRay” Villafuerte has praised the extension of the “Libreng Sakay” (Free rides) for the EDSA Carousel bus transit line, which President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. approved.

Long queue of motorists seen at EDSA near scout Borromeo in Quezon City on June 27, 2022 (Mark Balmores)

On July 1, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista issued a memo recommending that the Libreng Sakay program for the EDSA Carousel be extended until December 2022, from the original expiry date of June 30.

Marcos approved the DOTr memorandum on July 1, his first day in office.

“President BBM’s [Marcos] move to greenlight onDay One of his presidency the extension of the Libreng Sakay program is a harbinger of the better days ahead on his watch for our people, particularly the masa who have been hit the hardest by the economic crisis touched off by the over two-year Covid-19 pandemic plus the oil price shock, food supply squeeze and other ill effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Villafuerte said in a statement on Sunday, July 3.

“That the extension of the program giving free rides to our commuters was among the very first acts of Mr. Marcos as President is a telling mark of his clear-cut desire to deliver on his ‘Bangon Bayan Muli’ presidential campaign promise to uplift the lives of all Filipinos,” he added.

Marcos also greenlit Bautista’s request to grant free rides to students for the MRT-3, LRT-2, and the Philippine National Railway (PNR) which is set to last from August 22, 2022, until November 4, 2022.

Villafuerte, in his statement, asked the DOTr that it consider extending the free ride program to senior citizens, solo parents, and persons with disabilities (PWDs), and that the validation process be made convenient for eligible beneficiaries.

He also urged the newly-minted 19th Congress to consider increasing the public transportation budget as part of the 2023 GAA (General Appropriations Act) so as to facilitate future free ride programs.