Senate committee opens RFID hearing on Dec. 17

Published December 13, 2020, 4:44 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate Committee on Public Services will start its inquiry into the government’s decision to implement the cashless system in major tollways that has resulted in traffic gridlocks and left motorists stuck on the road for hours.


Senator Grace Poe, chair of the public services panel, said she has set the hearing on Dec. 17, Thursday to tackle three resolutions seeking to look into the implementation of the radio frequency identification (RFID) system.
“Unang-una, nais nating maayos ang sitwasyon para sa ating mga kababayan, na hindi naman sila napeperwisyo at nahihirapang pumila doon at nakababad nang matagal. Pangalawa, nais nating malaman ano ba talaga ang naging dahilan kung bakit hindi maayos ang pagpapatakbo nito? (First of all, we want to fix the situation so that our people won’t be inconvenienced and have to endure the long queues. Second, we also want to know what is the real reason why they failed to implement this),” Poe said in an interview over DZBB.
Poe said they want to ask the Department of Transportation (DOTr) what it intends to do to fix the situation, noting how government regulators were slow in acting on the gridlock at the expressways despite the everyday complaint of motorists.
She said the panel wants to be enlightened on how government regulators would fix the procedure in the toll plazas to address congestion, noting that the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) seems to be doing nothing to address the situation.
“’Yung Toll Regulatory Board ay parang natulog sa pansitan (The TRB seems to have been sleeping on this problem),” she noted.
She pointed out that even other countries did not rush to implement the process but eventually made a successful shift to a cashless mode of payment in their respective toll system.
The senator pointed out that the cashless system should also be seamless for all tollways so that motorists do not have to get separate RFID stickers for each.
Poe also said the panel will look into complaints that some RFID readers are malfunctioning. She said the cashless system should offer motorists ease of travel along the expressways while keeping them away from the possibility of the coronavirus transmission when using cash payment.
“Cashless nga dahil may pandemic para ‘di maghawahan. Kung pipila ka naman at kukuha ng sticker dahil nagmamadali lahat eh ‘di nagkahawahan din (We want to impose a cashless system due to the pandemic and to avoid infection from spreading. But if everyone has to queue just to get a sticker, then social distancing is impossible),”