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Free rides for healthcare workers, APORs resume
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-7) director Eduardo Montealto said the program has been given a go signal to continue until June 30, 2021.

Free rides for healthcare workers, APORs resume

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - June 18, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — After being suspended for a day, the free rides in Cebu for healthcare workers and authorized persons outside residence has resumed yesterday.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-7) director Eduardo Montealto said the program has been given a go signal to continue until June 30, 2021.

Montealto said he was ordered by chairman Martin Delgra to continue the service contracting program, which provides free transportation for healthcare workers and APORs.

 “Actually, since yesterday wala gyud ta totally nag stop operations sila. Just this morning, I have the clearance to continue until June 30, 2021 and fast tract the weekly payouts,” said Montealto.

He said the temporary suspension of free rides on June 16, 2021 was to allow the transition of payouts. However, an unforeseen progress in the preparation of payouts to drivers and operators and the assured decentralization of funds prompted the agency to resume the program immediately.

Montealto said the disbursement of funds is expected to be done within the week.

Currently, some of the public utility vehicles (PUVs) providing free rides, which started in April 2021, are still operating despite the initial statement to temporarily stop the service.

“The agency commits for a continuous releasing of funds after the operators’ immediate compliance of all the necessary requirements under the program,” said Montealto.

For the commuters’ guidance, the PUVs will continue to ply its usual routes for free rides.

Operators and drivers joining this program are entitled to receive P82 per kilometer (30 percent for the driver and 70 percent for the operator) as a subsidy from the government.

A total of 90 buses, 200 modernized jeepneys, and 250 traditional jeepneys have joined this program.

Earlier, Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade together with Delgra launched the free rides for health workers and APORs in Cebu last month.

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 11494 or Bayanihan to Recover As One, the service contracting program aims to ensure reliable and safe public transportation for commuters.

The program was implemented to provide additional revenue for drivers and operators affected by the implementation of public health and safety protocols due to COVID-19 pandemic. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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