Duterte says he can’t blame Gatchalian for fuming at NLEx traffic mess | Inquirer News
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Duterte says he can’t blame Gatchalian for fuming at NLEx traffic mess

/ 01:22 AM December 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The actions that were taken by Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian in trying to solve the traffic situation in his city — including suspending the business permit of North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) — were understandable according to President Rodrigo Duterte.

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In his late-night briefing on Wednesday, Duterte said he himself wanted to visit the area because he was confused why NLEx was implementing a system that was not supposedly tested.

Confusion and traffic jams ensued when the NLEx and all the other tollways in the country shifted to a cashless toll collection system using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, with common complaints of sensor failure and lack of information.

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“Saan ka nakakita, nakikita ko sa TV, gusto kong pumunta doon but in deference to Gatchalian (I did not) kasi ang role ng traffic sa NLEx.  But sa siyudad mismo, the whole of the city, the control of the traffic is always left to the local government,” Duterte said.

(Where can you see something like that, I saw it on the TV, I wanted to go there but in deference to Gatchalian I did not.  The role of managing tollways traffic is with NLEx, but for the city itself, the whole city, the control of the traffic is always left to the local government.)

“So nandoon siya, si mayor, galit na galit, and I could understand his (anger) with all the conundrum taking place.  Pati ako magagalit talaga, and I understand this burst of anger, which is justified para matauhan kayo,” he added.

(So he was there, the mayor was so angry and I could understand his emotions with all the conundrum taking place.  Even I would be really angry, and I understand his burst of anger, which is justified so that you will come to your senses.)

Days after NLEx shifted to a cashless system, to avoid human-to-human transactions and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, traffic swelled up in areas near the toll plazas.

This led Gatchalian to warn NLEx about the possibility of having their business permit suspended, to allow a toll holiday where vehicles will not be billed when entering through toll gates in Valenzuela City.

Gatchalian implemented the suspension last December 7, to the delight of motorists affected by the long queues at the toll plazas.

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READ: Valenzuela to NLEx: Fix RFID-induced traffic or lose business permit

READ: Gatchalian halts NLEX Corp. operation in Valenzuela City amid ‘RFID mess’

Valenzuela, being Metro Manila’s gateway to Central Luzon, has at least three points of entry to the NLEx: the Karuhatan toll plaza which connects NLEx to the Harbour Link, the Malinta Exit, and the Mindanao Avenue Exit.

According to Duterte, toll managers and even government regulators should have tested the system prior to its implementation.

“There is always a system in every work.  But the problem is I said, although what innovations or changes or reconfiguring, you do not practice.  You’ll just do it when the time comes,” he said.

RFIDs have been in use in tollways for some time now but their wide use was mandated by a Department of Transportation memorandum which sought to minimize possible COVID-19 transmissions by doing away with turnpike toll collectors.

/MUF

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TAGS: business permit, cashless toll collection, expresswa, Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Metro, NLEX, North Luzon Expressway, Philippine news updates, President Rodrigo Duterte, radio frequency identification, RFID system, RFID tags, toll holiday, tollway management, traffic situation, valenzuela
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