President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he wants Beep cards be given away for free after the implementation of cashless payments through fare cards created confusion with commuters complaining they don’t have extra money to buy the cards and they are not informed.
In a televised address to the nation Monday night, President Duterte said that the majority of the Filipino commuters are not prepared for the extra payment for the cards as well as the cashless payment system that will be implemented on public transportations.
“Una, ang reklamo ko na — iyong mga Pilipino na hindi alam o walang kakayahan na maka — makalakad kung saan sila papunta, bahay, umuwi ng bahay, umuwi ng ano, kung saan and they were not prepared with this card,” the President said.
“Kaya iyang card na ‘yan, card lang naman ‘yan, ibigay na ‘yan libre. Bakit pabayaran pa ‘yan? We have been wasting so many billions to corruption tapos hindi ‘yan, hindi mo maibigay,” he added.
But the President clarified that only the Beep card should be free of charge and commuters would still have to shell out for the load.
The President said he will talk with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in their upcoming meeting to raise the issue of the possibility in handing out Beep cards for free.
Due to the current pandemic, the President said many Filipinos struggle financially and that’s the reason why his government is doing everything to ease their burden.
“You know, it breaks your heart really to… For those na iyang day-to-day trabaho ninyo but kami dito sa itaas nakikita namin and how it affects the human person,” the President said.
“Eh trabaho namin ‘yan eh. So if there is not — if there is no relief in sight, or it cannot be done immediately, I suggest that we find the money and give it to the public free para walang gulo at saka lahat mayroon,” he added.
Recently, the Beep cards provider AF Payments Inc. (AFPI) announced that they cannot grant the request of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to waive the card fees because they cover the expenses on logistics, production, initialization, printing and distribution.
The AFPI received donations to give away 125,000 free beep cards to passengers who can’t afford to buy fare cards.
In the meantime, the DOTr announced last Sunday that the mandatory use of Beep cards at the EDSA Busway will be suspended until issues in the payment systems are resolved. PND