Mayor Gatchalian threatens to suspend business permit of NLEX Corp. amid 'RFID fiasco'

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian has threatened to suspend the business permit of NLEX Corporation in the city should it fail to address the "atrocious traffic situation" on its expressway.

Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian, in a letter addressed to NLEX Corp. chief operating officer Raul Ignacio, said that he would only give the company 72 hours from the receipt of his letter "to file explanation why the city government should not suspend business permit."

Gatchalian said, this is "in view of your miserable failure to comply with your obligations in your business permit to the detriment of the general welfare of the public, including the residents of this city, as well as the chaos, which have caused atrocious traffic situation and disrupted peace and order of this city."

The local chief executive, in the same letter which was posted on social media on Friday night, also gave the company 24 hours to file its "action plan to solve your RFID fiasco."

This came after Gatchalian, in a Facebook post on Thursday, hit the company, particularly Ignacio, for keeping the "problems" experienced by the motorists unattended for several years now.

"This serves as our formal complaint and final demand against your corporation for the unusually heavy traffic in Valenzuela City being caused by your RFID system and toll booth since the full implementation of cashless toll collection last December 1," Gatchalian said in writing the letter.

"Although the holiday rush, coupled with the lifting of truck ban and number coding scheme give rise to heavier volume of vehicles on the road, the abysmal state of your RFID system contributes to the chaos and exacerbates the already dreadful traffic situation in the city, which were caused by your nonchalant careless manner of implementing your RFID system," he added.

Gatchalian pointed out that since his first term as the city mayor in 2013, he "already called the attention" of the company's "higher-ups and complained about the inefficiency" of its Easytrip, with its "sensors failing to read the same."

The mayor said that he and other motorists "became involuntary participants in the daily great 'cha cha of the cars' in toll gates."

"It is indeed appalling that my call in behalf of my constituents fell on deaf ears, as you still have the same terrible system seven years ago. It likewise bears emphasizing that with the unique location of Valenzuela City, we have multiple interchanges, which have been suffering heavy build up and spilling over our main thoroughfares, Maysan Road and MacArthur Highway," he said.

Gatchalian also told the company in his letter that he already called its attention but its officials were allegedly "even quick to deny the existence of the problem in spite of the multiple news in different channels and platforms, as well as angry posts and rants of netizens, who were stuck in traffic for several hours due to the long lines" in the RFID toll gates.

Valenzuela City serves as a gateway for motorists and commuters coming from Metro Manila and going to north Luzon provinces, who mostly pass through NLEX.

The letter was copy furnished to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim and Toll Regulatory Board executive director Abraham Sales.