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Marcos extends free EDSA bus rides

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
Marcos extends free EDSA bus rides
The President signed the memorandum drafted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), which said it considered the availability of the budget for service contracting under the 2022 General Appropriations Act  for the extension of the free bus rides that started in April.
Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos yesterday approved the extension of free EDSA Carousel bus rides until the end of the year to mitigate the financial burden on consumers reeling from the rising costs of goods and services.

The President signed the memorandum drafted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), which said it considered the availability of the budget for service contracting under the 2022 General Appropriations Act  for the extension of the free bus rides that started in April.

The memorandum also provides free rides for students on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), Light Rail Transit Line 2 and Philippine National Railways when face-to-face classes resume in August.

The free rides for students would be implemented from Aug. 22 to Nov. 4, DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista said. The agency has yet to release the mechanics for the program.

The Department of Education expects more than 38,000 schools to resume face-to-face classes for the coming school year.

“The move will ease the burden of rising living expenses on Filipino families and help them save money – especially with the return of face-to-face classes after more than two years,” the DOTr said.

However, the memorandum terminates free rides for other commuters in the MRT-3. The DOTr recommended the discontinuation of the program because “current MRT-3 fares are already heavily subsidized.”

The free ride for all at the MRT-3 benefited 28.62 million passengers from March 28 to June 30, at a time when the costs of basic goods, especially food and fuel, are surging.

Inflation zoomed to a 42-month high of 5.4 percent in May, as energy and food prices soared on supply constraints due to the war in Europe. – Ghio Ong

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