Sen. Gatchalian: Only TRO, regulatory board can stop NLEx toll hike
MANILA, Philippines — For now, the only way to stop the toll rate increase on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) is through a temporary restraining order or if the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) would defer its implementation.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian joined the call to pause the imposition of higher toll rates on NLEx until a performance evaluation and the traffic problems in the major expressway are resolved.
The increase of P7 to depending on the type of vehicle and distance, is set to start on Thursday, June 15.
“Ang instinct ko, ang analysis ko dyan, magtataas ka pero ang serbisyo na binabalik mo sa amin hindi maganda. Kaya nga tayo may expressway para mabilis but it’s not happening,” the senator lamented when interviewed at the Senate.
(My instinct, my analysis there, is that you will increase, but the service you give us is not good. That’s why we have expressways supposedly for faster travel, but it’s not happening.)
According to him, the TRB has long been told to conduct a performance evaluation before approving a toll increase based on inflation or foreign currency exchange.
Gatchalian also reminded the TRB of its job to ensure that motorists get the excellent service they deserve.
But this is not what is happening, the senator reiterated.
He said commuters still experience heavy traffic along the NLEx party because of technical issues in its electronic collection system.
Asked then what else could be done to stop the toll increase, Gatchalian said: ‘For now, the only way to stop it is through a TRO.”
“But ang TRB can also defer the increase pending itong mga comments ng mga legislators and the riding public. So pwede pa nilang i-defer. Hhindi naman natin sinasabi na hindi, ang sinasabi natin tingnan natin yung ibang issue tulad ng trapik, tulad ng service,” he said.
(But the TRB can also defer the increase pending the comments of legislators and the riding public. So they can still delay it. We’re not saying no. What we’re saying is let’s look at other issues, such as traffic and service.)
On the part of the Senate, Gatchalian said they can only do “moral suasion to defer it.”
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has already called for the postponement of the toll increase while Senator Grace Poe, the head of the Senate committee on public services, demanded an explanation from the TRB.