Sara Duterte office eyes more buses, routes for 'Libreng Sakay' program

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2022 11:58 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2022 02:35 PM

Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) employees pose for photos with one of the buses during the launch of the “Peak Hours Augmentation Bus Service - Libreng Sakay” on Aug. 3, 2022. Two buses will be operational in Metro Manila through the EDSA bus carousel route, according to the Office of the Vice President. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) employees pose for photos with one of the buses during the launch of the “Peak Hours Augmentation Bus Service - Libreng Sakay” on Aug. 3, 2022. Two buses will be operational in Metro Manila through the EDSA bus carousel route, according to the Office of the Vice President. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Vice President Sara Duterte's office said Thursday it was planning to get additional buses and open more routes for its program offering free rides to the public.

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) is looking for partners from the private sector to expand its "Libreng Sakay" program, its spokesperson Reynold Munsayac said. 

"Malinaw na kailangang-kailangan pa ng gobyerno ng mga bus na magpo-provide ng ganyang services lalo na at no cost," Munsayac said in a press conference.

"Ang layunin namin talaga, makahanap ng private partners na magpapahiram din ng bus. Sagot naman namin 'yong gasolina, sagot din namin 'yong ng suweldo ng mga driver, kung kailangan, [at] 'yong repair at maintenance," he added.

(It's clear that the government needs buses that will provide those services, especially at no cost. Our goal is to find private partners that will also lend buses. We will shoulder the fuel, the salary of the drivers, and if needed, the repair and maintenance of the buses.) 

The bus route from Commonwealth and Fairview in Quezon City to Quiapo in Manila is a "target" of the OVP, Munsayac said.

"Marami kaming natanggap na reports na maraming mga pasahero diyan," he said, noting that there was no timeline yet for the program's expansion. 

(We received reports that there are many passengers there.)

On Wednesday, the OVP launched its "Libreng Sakay" program with 5 buses, 2 of which ply the EDSA Carousel in Metro Manila. The other 3 were deployed in Cebu City, Davao City, and Bacolod City.

The program runs from Mondays to Saturdays, from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The free rides can also accommodate students attending in-person classes, Munsayac added.

The Department of Transportation earlier gave an assurance that public transport was sufficient to cater to students who would go back to physical classes later this year.

BACOLOD OFFICE

Munsayac also reported that the OVP inaugurated another satellite office in Bacolod last Aug. 1.

This is the seventh OVP satellite office, with the others located in the cities of Dagupan, Cebu, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Davao, and Tandag in Surigao del Sur.

The OVP launched satellite offices outside of the National Capital Region to make its services accessible to more Filipinos.

— With a report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News

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