October 26, 2020
Fix RFID issues – Revilla
As the Department of Transportation (DOTr) deadline for cashless tollways on November 2 creeps in, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr., Senate Committe on Public Services Vice-Chairman, urged tollway operators Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to improve accessibility to their corresponding Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, and ensure that their infrastructure for the shift are working and properly in place. MPTC operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), C5 Link, and Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), while SMC operates the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway, NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), and Star Tollways.
This came after the onslaught of issues and complaints from the public, mostly on the inaccessibility of installation centers and unavailability of RFID stickers. “Mukha yatang nauna ang press release bago ang aktwal na kahandaan. Kitang kita na hindi sila handa sa volume ng mga kukuha ng mga RFID,” the lawmaker observed. “Napaka-kaunti ng mga installation centers na kadalasan, nauubusan pa ng stickers,” he added. We have actually reached out and partnered with MPTC in Cavite for pop-up installation booths, but these are still not enough. Tapos half day pa lang, wala nang stickers,” the senator shared.
He stressed that this causes congestion in installation centers with people lining up 24/7, posing health risks during this pandemic. It can be remembered that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Diseases (IATF) once shut down major installation centers for social distancing violations.
Revilla also lashed out at the Easytrip system, for its failures. He said that instead of speeding up the process of getting through toll collection booths, the Easytrip RFID Collection System exacerbated the situation. “The barriers won’t open. Their readers couldn’t read their tags. Nagiging kilometro ang traffic. Mas mabilis pa sa cash lanes dumaan,” the solon explained. “Meron din na magbubukas after a while, pero ‘di pa nakakalampas yung sasakyan, biglang babagsak yung barrier. Ayun, yupi ang kotse,” he lamented.
While Revilla said that the operators are not entirely at fault because of extraordinary considerations brought about by COVID-19, and the public’s penchant for doing things last minute, he emphasized that they are still responsible and accountable. “Alam naman nila na may COVID, at alam din nila na lalo pang magla-last minute ang ating mga kababayan dahil dito. Bakit hindi nila pinaghandaan?” “There’s no excuse,” he stressed.
“They have to get their acts together, fix the issues, and do what they have to,” he ended.