June 1, 2023

Free rides were made available again for health care workers (HCW) and authorized persons outside their homes (APOR) with the return of the Service Contracting Program of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong expressed full support to the program when he was informed by LTFRB OIC Regional Director Lalaine Sobremonte that the program designed to help both the transport sector and the health workers affected by the pandemic was officially relaunched last Sept. 10.
The following cooperatives or corporations had been given contracts: Kaaruba Transport cooperative covering the Baguio plaza-Trancoville route for APOR, Baguio-Benguet Transport Cooperative covering the central business district loops 1 and 2 for HCW, Ambayao- La Chesa (APOR), Camp 7- Loakan (HCW), Dontogan-Crystal Cave (HCW), San Luis- San Carlos (HCW); Light Bearer Transport Multipurpose Cooperative – Quezon Hill line (HCW), Long-long line (HCW); Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative – Baguio Plaza-Aurora Hill (APOR), Baguio Plaza-Aurora Hill (APOR), Baguio Plaza- Trancoville (APOR); Join Baguio Movement Tourist Service Cooperative – Irisan line (HCW), Trancoville-Ambiong-Brookside (HCW).
In her letter, Sobremonte told the mayor that for the initial operation in the city, 16 routes will be opened, 12 of which for HCWs and four for APORs.
The routes for HCWs will pass by Baguio General Hospital, St. Louis Hospital, Pines City Doctors Hospital, Benguet General Hospital and Baguio Medical Center. The route network will also pass by the vaccination sites, quarantine facilities, health care centers and the Baguio City Health Office, Sobremonte said.
The program aims to support public utility vehicle operators and drivers who have been affected by the pandemic due to the decreased income because of the implementation of public health protocols and also to support the mobility requirements of HCWs and APORs by providing free rides.
The program was initially implemented under Republic Act 11494, otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, as part of the government’s Covid-19 response and recovery interventions, providing temporary livelihood to displaced workers in the transportation industry through the implementation of the said program.
Seeing the positive effect of the previously implemented program, known as Bayanihan 2, particularly to the lives of the transport drivers and operators, as well as to the commuting public as a whole, the government extended the implementation of the Service Contracting Program under RA 11518, otherwise known as the 2021 General Appropriations Act with a total budget of P3 billion. – Aileen P. Refuerzo