The government has sufficient funds to subsidize stored value cards for use along the EDSA Busway in case money is absolutely needed, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said on Friday.
But Recto is counting on Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade's promise to first work out issues with AF Payments Inc. (AFPI) regarding the Beep cards.
"The most important (thing) today (was) what the Secretary (Tugade) has said . . . na dapat gawin na munang libre 'yung Beep card," Recto said.
In case there is a need to subsidize the value cards, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) could use some of the P20.71 billion it returned to government for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recto said, with a card priced at P80, the government will only have to pay P80 million. But since there is only an estimated 500,000 passengers using the bus daily, the cost would go down to P40 million.
"P80 million lang pinag-uusapan diyan and worst-case scenario na 'yung babayaran ng gobyerno 'yan . . . In fact, dapat libre 'yan," said Recto, the former National Economic and Development Authority secretary general.
Tugade promised the Senate finance subcommittee hearing the DOTR’s proposed 2021 budget that they are working the issue out.
"I cued ang ating mga kasamahang sipatin at silipin kung Beep card ililibre natin . . . Kaya nu'ng nalaman ko, ipinagpilitan ko na libre," Tugade assured committee members.
"Pinag-uusapan namin saan pwedeng i-source ang budget. Pwedeng silipin ang Bayanihan 2 fund." -- Sherrie Ann Torres and Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News