MANILA (UPDATE) - Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. on Monday appealed to Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian to reconsider suspending its north tollway firm's business permit over issues in the implementation of the RFID system which causes heavy traffic in the area.
Gatchalian on Friday gave NLEX Corp. 24 hours to submit an action plan and another 72 hours to give an explanation as to why its business permit should not be suspended.
NLEX Corp had asked local government for 15 days to submit an action plan, which the mayor rejected.
"Kami po ay naniniwala na sana naman po ay di umabot doon. Kung pwede po sana ay mag-reconsider yung ating kagalang-galang na mayor ng Valenzuela," MPTC chief communication officer Junji Quimbo told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We hope it will not come to that. We hope the good mayor of Valenzuela can reconsider.)
"Siyempre ginagalang natin ang karapatan ng pamahalaang lokal at tinitingnan namin paano kami makakasunod."
(We respect the rights of the local government and we're looking at how we can comply.)
MPTC acknowledges that NLEX Corp's RFID system affects the flow of traffic into Valenzuela, Quimbo said.
"Kami po ay humihingi na rin ng pag-unawa sa mga taga-Valenzuela…malaking bagay na nagkaroon tayo ng RFID kaya lang magpa-Pasko na rin po at siyempre lumalala na ang traffic," he said.
(We also appeal for the understanding of Valenzuela residents...The implementation of the RFID is a big deal for us and the holidays are near so traffic is worsening.)
"Kinikilala natin ang daloy ng trapiko ay naapektuhan. Sa ilang lugar din nagkaroon din tayo ng problema sa implementation…at ito pong mga problema naman ay tinutugunan na natin isa-isa."
(We acknowledge that the flow of traffic is affected. We also encountered problems in other areas...and we're addressing these one by one.)
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, the mayor's older brother, earlier said he would call for a review of government's concession agreement with toll operators.
Gatchalian backed his brother's call to suspend NLEX Corp's business permit and allow motorists to use the tollway for free.
"Kung ang public interest ay nasa alanganin ay pwedeng kanselahin ang kontrata. Tandaan po natin itong toll road ay pribilehiyong binigay natin sa operator," he told Teleradyo in a separate interview Monday.
(If public interest is in danger the public can cancel the contract. Let's remember that the toll road is a privilege given to operators.)
"In the meantime, dahil alam natin ang kanilang sistema ay bulok at hindi gumagana, paraanin na lang po ang mga taumbayan at magbigay ng toll holiday."
(In the meantime, because we know their system is not working, let's allow motorists to pass through and implement a toll holiday.)
Gatchalian also called out the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and urged its chief to step down for not addressing the issue.
"Ang TRB hindi ho gumagana... Matagal na ho ito, hindo ito nangyari overnight. Ang TRB ay malaki ang pananagutan nito. Lalala at lalala po yan dahil Pasko na ho at maraming lumuluwas ng Maynila," he said.
(The TRB is not working...This has been a problem for a while, it did not happen overnight. The TRB has a huge responsibility here. The problem will only get worse as Christmas nears and many will leave Metro Manila.)
The TRB is working to resolve said issues, its spokesman Julius Corpuz said.
"Hindi po kami hihinto hanggang makahanap kami ng solusyon...As of now wala po akong mabibitawang pangakong deadline pero yan po ay aming pagpupursigihin upang mabigyan naman natin ng mas maayos na paglalakbay ang ating mga motorista," he said.
(We will not stop until we find a solution. As of now, I cannot give a deadline but we will try our best to give motorists better journeys.)
Implementing a "toll holiday" is an option, Corpuz added.
"It is an an option sakaling kailangan gamitin ang measure na yan. Kailangan ho bang humantong pa sa ganun o baka ang problema ay matutugunan sa ibang paraan na satisfactory para sa ating mga motorista," he said.
(It is an option if it needs to be used. But must it come to that or can the problem be solved in a way that's satisfactory for motorists?)
Meantime, NLEX Corp and San Miguel Corp which operates the South Luzon Expressway are working together for the interoperability of their RFID systems, Corpuz said.
"Yan po ay ongoing project na...May isang sticker at dalawang wallet, meron na pong partial implementation yan," he said.
(It's an ongoing project...there's 1 sticker and 2 wallets, it has been partially implemented.)
"The final would be 1 sticker and 1 account na mapapatupad din yan hopefully next year sana (that would hopefully be implemented next year)."