June 20, 2024

The Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board-Cordillera reported last week the public utility vehicle service contracting program of the government, which benefited millions of commuters since the pandemic, will be back this April.

LTFRB-CAR Director Lalaine Sobremonte said phase 3 of the PUV service contracting will continue with the remaining P700 million fund which will be distributed nationwide. The program is expected to start by the later part of April until June.

Sobremonte said the phase 4 of the program, which has a P2 billion budget, will be implemented from July to December this year. 

Phase 3 of the program will continue the “libreng sakay” while in phase 4, commuters would now be paying the PUVs who are under the service contract of the government. 

Sobremonte clarified the LTFRB is waiting for the guidelines from the national office for the implementation of phases three and four.

“We are waiting for the guidelines but there are initial talks that the libreng sakay would be provided during the holidays,” Sobremonte said. 

The service contracting program would include high-impact areas or the highly-urbanized cities where transportation is needed.

She said the program would also help the traditional public utility jeepney drivers to raise funds with the ongoing PUV Modernization Program.

The service contracting program was extended and appropriated with budget by lawmakers, seeing the ease it provided to the commuting public especially in the highly-urbanized areas of the country. 

The libreng sakay is a joint program of the Department of Transportation and the LTFRB to help commuters cope with the rising prices of commodities and services. It was launched in late 2020 under Republic Act 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

Congress earlier allocated funds to ensure the continuation of the program this year with a P2.16B budget included in the P5.268 trillion General Appropriations Act of 2023.

The budget includes the P1.285B in programmed appropriations and another P875 million lodged under the unprogrammed appropriations. – Ofelia C. Empian