MANILA – Speaker Martin G. Romualdez said Tuesday the House of Representatives is pushing for the retention of funds allocated for fuel subsidy and the Libreng Sakay program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The House has decided to earmark PHP25 billion for the Pantawid Pasada Fuel Program, PHP2 billion for Libreng Sakay, and PHP1 billion as part of the PHP77 billion institutional amendments for pro-people programs in the national budget.

“This is one of the pro-people provisions of the proposed national budget. Kailangan ito ng mga mamamayan (These are needed by the Filipinos),” Romualdez said.

He said the fuel subsidy program remains one of the government services that drivers and operators look forward to in times of need amid the rising oil prices.

Equally important, he added, is the “free ride” program as it serves well and is a big help to commuters who do not earn enough for their respective families.

“House believes that the Libreng Sakay program will really help commuters. Pinondohan namin ‘yan dahil kailangan (We funded that because it is necessary),” said Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.

The service contracting or Libreng Sakay program of the DOTr and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) began in 2020 and was mandated under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. It was retained in 2021 and 2022.

Bike lanes, meanwhile, encourage citizens to use bicycles to go to, and from, work.

“It is a way to be physically healthy and at the same time reduces vehicles on the road,” Co said. (PNA)