President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said Beep cards used in public transportation should be given free of charge to commuters.

“Card lang naman ‘yan, ibigay na ‘yan libre. Bakit pabayaran pa ‘yan? We have been are wasting so many billions to corruption. Tapos ‘yan hindi mabigay?” Duterte said in a public briefing aired late Monday night.

EDSA bus passengers had been subject to the “no Beep card, no ride” rule until the Department of Transportation (DOTr) suspended the policy Monday.

Commuters were caught off guard with the implementation of the policy, which required them to shell out P180 for the card and load balance.

AF Payments, Inc, operator of the Beep card, announced that it would hand out 125,000 free Beep cards to “people in need” after the policy was suspended.

Duterte said he would talk to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade about the free distribution of Beep cards.

“I will raise with him the possibility of giving it free,” he said, noting that experiences of commuters who were unable to travel due to the Beep card policy broke his heart.

Over the weekend, the DOTr threatened to suspend the use of the automatic fare collection systems if operators continue to charge for cards amid the Covid-19 pandemic. John Ezekiel J. Hirro