Poe, Binay ask gov’t to extend implementation of cashless tollways
MANILA, Philippines — As motorists scramble to get Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) stickers, Senators Grace Poe and Nancy Binay urged the government Tuesday to extend the period of implementation of cashless payment system in tollways.
Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services, said the installation period should be extended beyond January 11 next year since hundreds and thousands of motorists have yet to get an RFID tag. The move to automate the payment scheme is to limit human contact and the spread of COVID-19.
“Vehicle owners should be given reasonable time to secure the stickers for the cashless payment system considering that we are in a pandemic where movement of people are limited, if not restricted,” Poe said in a statement.
“After Jan. 11, we urge that several cash lanes be retained in both NLEX and SLEX, where motorists can avail of the RFID stickers as they pass without being penalized or given a violation record,” the senator added.
For Binay, the deadline should be extended till February 2021 noting that it would be difficult for most motorists to have their stickers installed due to the number of holidays in December and early January.
“There’s no point in gunning for a set date only to fail. Mas mahalaga na mailatag natin nang maayos ang sistema, at ma-accommodate natin ang mga motorista na siya namang makikinabang sa proyektong ito,” Binay said in a separate statement.
(It is important that we are able to lay down the system properly and we have accommodated the motorists who will be benefitted with this project.)
Poe likewise pushed for an increase in the number of RFID installation centers or booths and include malls or any area with wide-open spaces.
“RFID installation centers should also be established in strategic locations outside Metro Manila to cater to motorists from nearby provinces who regularly use the north and south expressways,” Poe said.
“This will declog the applicants in Metro Manila and ease the burden of motorists who now have to line up for hours for the sticker,” she added.
The Department of Transportation earlier said that motorists who fail to have the mandatory RFID sticker for toll roads will not be apprehended until January 11.
But from Dec. 1, toll operators would be required to install RFID stickers on motorists using their toll roads.
The senators’ call echoed the appeal made by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) President Ramon Ang. SMC operates the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway System, the NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
The SMC boss earlier said there are still long lines at sticker installation sites, and that there has been a surge in last-minute applications on the days leading to the deadline.
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