OVP’s ‘Libreng Sakay’ needs private partners

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) announced Thursday that it is looking for private-sector partners to help expand its “Libreng Sakay” program by getting additional buses and opening more routes to the public.

“It’s clear that the government needs buses that will provide those services, especially at no cost. Our goal is to find private partners that will also lend buses. We will shoulder the fuel, the salary of the drivers, and if needed, the repair and maintenance of the buses, Vice President Sara Z. Duterte’s spokesperson, Lawyer Reynold Munsayac, said.

He underscored the OVP is targeting the bus line that runs from Commonwealth and Fairview in Quezon City to Quiapo in Manila because they have received reports of a large number of passengers in the area.

However, the OVP has no timeline for the program’s expansion.

The OVP launched its “Libreng Sakay” program on Wednesday with five buses, two WiFi-ready, which operate in Metro Manila’s EDSA Carousel. The other three were stationed at Bacolod, Davao and Cebu cities.

The “Peak Hours Augmentation Bus Service-Libreng Sakay” program was officially launched on Wednesday under Duterte’s direction.

“It will support the national government’s program, and at the same time, it is hoped that this meager contribution would translate to daily savings for our public transport riding kababayans,” the VP said.

The project, carried out in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, aims to ease commuters’ burdens.

Munsayac said the Libreng Sakay program could accommodate students attending in-person classes as it will run from Mondays to Saturdays, from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Growing OVP satellite office

Meanwhile, the OVP established its eighth satellite office in Bacolod City on Monday.

The city’s newest satellite office, situated at the Mosser Building within the Goldenfields Complex, was inaugurated on Monday, according to Munsayac, who made the announcement at an OVP and Department of Education joint press conference.

Former Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Himamaylan City Mayor Raymund Tongson, and the property owners led the ceremony.

According to Munsayac, the initiative to establish satellite offices in specific areas across the country is part of Duterte’s sincere efforts to “make sure the OVP is closer to the people.”

“The OVP continues to respond to the underlying message that government intervention is critical and necessary as we transport our dreams of inclusive development into reality,” he said.

He said the Bacolod extension office was able to serve over 200 customers on its first day of operation for the medical and funeral assistance programs.

He said that as of Wednesday, the OVP has already processed claims for medical and burial assistance amounting to P36,476,494.32 and already released the amount of P11,582,023.40 for OVP National Capital Region and satellite offices.

The OVP satellite offices in Zamboanga, Cebu, Davao, Tacloban, Tandag and Dagupan opened on 1st July, just in time for Vice President Sara Z. Duterte’s first day in office.

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