Gatchalian seeks probe on toll operators' compliance with concession deals

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2020 01:59 PM

Gatchalian seeks probe on toll operators' compliance with concession deals 1
Vehicles pass through the Balintawak tollway along the North Luzon Expressway in Caloocan City on October 22, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Tuesday he has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate toll operators' concession deals after his brother, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, suspended the business permit of the North Luzon Expressway over heavy traffic supposedly caused by the faulty implementation of its new contactless payment system.

Senate Resolution No. 587, filed on Monday, seeks to review if toll operators have been complying with the "minimum performance standards" stipulated in their concession agreements, Gatchalian said in a statement.

"These malfunctioning RFID sensors and installation of RFID stickers exacerbated the already dismal traffic situation in the tollways and nearby roads since the start of the shift to a purely cashless toll collection system," he said.

"What’s more glaring than the admission of the fact that the system is not equipped enough to carry out the cashless payment scheme? Does that not constitute gross negligence on the part of the toll operator?" he asked.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), operator of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Corp., earlier attributed the build up in toll plazas to "technical problems" in their system, but guaranteed that the issues are already being addressed.

The functions and performance of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) should also be reviewed, Gatchalian said.

Under Presidential Decree 1112, the TRB is authorized to amend, modify or revoke toll-related permits whenever public interest so requires.

The TRB should have implemented "a toll holiday in the wake of an admission from NLEX on the glitches in their system, including the malfunctioning of RFID sensors on vehicles," the senator said.

MPTC earlier said it is in the process of implementing "several measures" to correct glitches in its RFID system.

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