DOTr, MRT-3 extend ‘Libreng Sakay’ until May 30

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Metro Line 3 (MRT-3) on Wednesday extended the “Libreng Sakay” program, allowing the public to enjoy free rides until May 30.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission (Comelec) has authorized the implementation of three government projects, including the Fuel Subsidy Program (FSP) worth over one billion pesos.

The move was made to “continue to help our commuters ease their financial burden in a time of inflation and rising fuel prices.”

The free ride program – intended to celebrate the completion of MRT-3 rehabilitation and to offset rising fuel prices for the public – began on March 28 and was originally scheduled to end on April 30.

The extension would also allow MRT-3 management to further test the capacity and performance of its trains by serving more than 350,000 passengers per day.

After the completion of the rehabilitation of MRT-3, its trains now run at a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour, reducing the interval between trips to 3.5-4 minutes from 8.5 to previous 9 minutes.

In a resolution, Comelec en banc granted the motion filed by the (DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to exempt the implementation of the subsidy programs from the electoral ban.

The petitioners also submitted the specific amounts to be disbursed during the 45-day election ban: Fuel subsidy scheme: P1,674,601,500; Public Utility Vehicle (PCS) Service Contract Program, P5,901,500,000; Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Program (PUVMP Tsuper Iskolar Program (Social Support Component) P187,152,000; Entrepreneur Program (Social Support Component) P22,470,000; and Financing Component P1,050,721,000.

The pollster also directed other relevant government agencies and entities such as the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority skills (TESDA) involved in the programs, “to individually submit a specific plan for implementation identifying specifically the beneficiaries, as well as when and how and to provide documents or reports of previous distributions of a similar nature.

The FSP was put in place to mitigate the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and rising fuel prices on the mass transportation industry.

It aims to guarantee the viability of public transport and to curb a rise in fares which would be detrimental to commuters.

On the other hand, the SCP is a performance-based subsidy for PUV operators and drivers to mitigate the effects of reduced public transport capacity in response to the pandemic.

The PUVMP aims to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the road transport industry.

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