‘Libreng Sakay’ for frontline workers rolls on again in GenSan

A view of General Santos City. Photo courtesy of GenSan LGU

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 September) – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has tapped some 22 public utility vehicles (PUVs) here for the second phase of its “Libreng Sakay” (free ride) program, an official said on Wednesday.

Paterno Reynato Padua, LTFRB-Region 12 director, said they formally started on Tuesday the 45-day free ride for frontline health care workers and authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) in the area.

He said they contracted local transport cooperatives to serve various routes within the city’s 26 barangays and nearby localities, which is served by a total of 213 assorted PUV units.

“As expected, the passengers are not yet that many as we have just started the program, so we have expanded the information dissemination to the target riders,” Padua said in a radio interview.

Under the program, he said they signed service contracts with cooperatives operating assorted PUVs for the established routes based on the approved payout scheme.

For buses, the official said the daily rate is PHP82.50 per kilometer (km) while the lower mode units get PHP52.50/km.

“The contract is for per kilometer run. The PUVs will receive the rates per kilometer regardless of the number of passengers that they would serve,” he said.

Padua said the accredited transport cooperatives will determine and set the income sharing with the drivers, which in some cases are pegged at 70-30 ratio, with the expenses already deducted.

He assured that the upcoming payouts will be smoother when compared to the first phase, which was funded under Republic Act No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).”

The release of payments for the rendered services in the initial phase was delayed after Bayanihan 2 ended last June 30, he said.

But for the second phase, Padua said the funds will be coming from the national budget or the General Appropriations Act.

Since the program’s implementation will end before December, he said the cooperatives and their office will have enough time to work on the liquidation of the funds.

“Part of the funding for the second phase will be downloaded to the regional office and once they are available, we will make the payouts,” he said. (MindaNews)