LTFRB-11 taps 46 groups for 3rd ‘Libreng Sakay’ program

Business & Finance

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Davao Region (LTFRB-11) inked a deal Thursday with 46 transport companies and cooperatives here to launch the third and biggest phase of the agency’s “Libreng Sakay” program.

The third phase of the program received PHP270 million in funding from the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“This is under the government’s Service Contracting Program (SCP) which has a total funding of PHP7 billion. We are blessed that we received a bigger portion this time at PHP270 million so we can hire more drivers who have severely lost profit when the pandemic was kicking in,” LTFRB-11 Director Nonito Llanos III said during the event.

Originally initiated under Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the SCP was to provide temporary livelihood to displaced transport workers during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

The third phase of the SCP is under RA 11639 or the General Appropriations Act of 2022.

Llanos said the contract will end on June 30.

“It would be nice to have this program extended but since the administration is about to change, the decision to relaunch is no longer within our control. We just have to hope that the next leaders will consider this,” Llanos said.

Jerry Sy, head of the Southern Mindanao Bus Operators Association, said in an interview the SCP has allowed many of the vehicle operators to continue their business and generate employment during the pandemic.

“When the pandemic started and all forms of transport were prohibited, we were obviously among those that were heavily hit. Through the SCP, we now have operations and we can now offer jobs to our drivers, and other staff,” he said.

“We are also abiding by the DOTr’s mandate of modernizing our units to increase road safety,” he added.

As of Wednesday, the number of routes offered in the “Libreng Sakay” program has reached 61 with schedules that will be announced soon.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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