VP Sara deploys OVP buses in six key cities for free rides during rush hours

DAVAO CITY—The Office of the Vice President (OVP) will offer free bus rides in six cities in the country, using its buses assigned to the satellite offices for these rides.

Vice President Sara Duterte said the free rides were coordinated with the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The program is called “Peak Hours Augmentation Bus Service [PHABS]- Libreng Sakay” in key areas of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“We hope that through this program, we will be able to provide relief to some of our fellow Filipinos who rely on public transport for their daily commute to work, to school, and to many other places,” Duterte said during the official launch ceremony of the OVP Libreng Sakay program at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exhange.

The free rides were simultaneously started in Metro Manila in Luzon, in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Bacolod in the Visayas, and Davao City in Mindanao.

According to the Vice President, two buses will be deployed in Metro Manila, one in Davao City, one in Cebu, and another one in Bacolod.

The Wi-fi-ready buses were lent for the use of the OVP in Manila and its satellite offices, but Duterte said these “would be more useful if they were deployed in some key areas of the country to be used by the commuting public for free.”

“It will support the national government’s Libreng Sakay Program, and at the same time, it is hoped that this meager contribution will translate to daily savings for our public transport-riding kababayan,” Duterte said.

Duterte said she is confident that this is just the beginning of many more successful collaborations with the private sector “to provide much-needed relief to the public.”

“Let me emphasize that this program is a demonstration of effective government and private sector collaboration,” she said.

In Metro Manila, pick-up of passengers would start as early as 4 a.m. and up to 10 a.m.,  and 4 p.m. up to 10 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and would follow the usual Edsa bus way.

Mandaue City would start ferrying passengers from Jagobiao at 7 a.m. and up to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. up to 10 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, while Cebu City would commence at 6 a.m. and up to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., en route from SM Seaside to IT Park on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Lapu-Lapu City shuttles at 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at the Mactan Economic Processing Zone (MEPZ) 1.

The OVP bus would also start its point-to-point ride in Bacolod City at 6 a.m. and up to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., except on Saturdays. The free bus transport will also serve other selected barangays in the city on scheduled days.

The areas of Lasang, Toril, and Calinan are the designated pick-up stations in Davao City. The operation would start at 6 a.m., and up to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., every Monday and Tuesday for Lasang area passengers, Wednesdays and Thurdays for Toril residents, and Fridays and Saturdays for Calinan-bound commuters.

The OVP said the free shuttle transport will strictly impose the “no facemask, no ride” policy to control the possible spread of Covid-19.