Delay of ‘e-tagging’ project for buses hitBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A transport organization wants some answers from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) concerning the delayed implementation of a measure designed to weed out “colorum” vehicles.
Vigor Mendoza, legal counsel of 1-Utak party-list group, said the electronic tagging (or e-tagging) of public utility vehicles (PUVs) had already gained the support of the majority of stakeholders in the transport sector since it was proposed two years ago.
Approved by all Metro Manila mayors earlier this year, the e-tagging project was designed to help authorities intercept so-called colorum or unregistered vehicles plying major thoroughfares, particularly buses, by having them installed with radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs).
“This was not discussed yesterday, this was not discussed a week or a month ago, this project was discussed two years ago. It’s OK if they are doing something at the LTFRB, but now nothing is moving,” Mendoza said in a meeting between the MMDA and transport groups last week.
‘Nothing has happened’
Despite several meetings with LTFRB chair Jaime Jacob, nothing has happened, Mendoza said. “I can tell you based on first-hand knowledge that nothing is moving on this issue. If we cannot do it, then scrap it now since we are not here to dribble things around.”
The lawyer reiterated the supposed advantages of the e-tagging project, saying it would not cost the government a single peso since the private sector had agreed to donate the needed facilities, computers and software for tracking the passenger buses.
The transport leader said the LTFRB’s main role in the project would be to download data in the RFIDs which would then be linked to the MMDA’s computer database.
Sought for comment, MMDA chair Francis Tolentino said he is ready to sign a memorandum formalizing the implementation of the program, but asked the transport sector to give the LTFRB more time.
Tolentino noted that the board’s mother agency, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), had just come under new leadership, referring to the recent appointment of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.