Tugade: NLEX should bear cost of RFID system failure
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday blasted the government regulator tasked with overseeing toll operations for its role in the alleged faulty RFID system that jammed traffic in Valenzuela City and neighboring areas.
Duterte said during a briefing that aired late night that the Toll Regulatory Board should have at least assessed the efficiency of the RFID system before allowing the North Luzon Expressway Corp. to put it in place.
"Mayroon tayong regulator. That's the purpose of having a regulatory board 'yung toll. Ang problema ang regulator is another set of incompetent people, they should not have allowed a system right now to put into use without a trial for about 1 week and anticipate what could be the problem," Duterte said, adding that dismissals at the toll board were possible
“If you cannot perform what is expected of you, then the best that you can do for decency sake, resign, and do not wait to be fired because masakit iyan, mapahiya ka.”
The President said government has taken the brunt of the blame over the inconvenience caused by the faulty RFID.
"'Yung failure n'yo would reflect on us," he said. "Kami ang nagpu---- ina kasi alam naming may system but it was not tried."
"If there's an innovation, you try to do it. Mag-dry run ka ng isang linggo, madaling araw na walang traffic at tignan ninyo . . . And on the day of the implementation, anak ka ng . . . Saan ka nakakita na doon pa ilagay ang sticker while the traffic cueing is almost also exponential, hanggang puwet na, dumating na sa Maynila?" Duterte added.
Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade said he would order NLEX to remove the toll barriers if indeed its RFID sensors were functional.
"Tinanong ko kung ano ang penetration ninyo. Sabi nila 95, 98 percent. 'Pag nagkaroon ng glitch, pila 'yan. Sagutin n'yo na 'yon kasi that's a problem of the system . . . Why should you make the travelers ang public to suffer?" Tugade said.
"You bear the cost because that's your system. Pag-aralan n'yo na 'yan dahil ipapaalis ko ang barriers."
Tugade also apologized to the motoring public affected by the RFID-related traffic, citing these were part of "birthing pains."
He said the government has been pushing the cashless means of toll collection to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Tugade said a considerable number of toll collectors have caught the disease.
"May of this year, 270 of our toll operators nagka-COVID. Sila 'yung nagbibilang ng pera, imagine mo ang spread niyan? Kaya doon na tayo sa cashless," he said.
"I express my apologies to the users of the tollways, the local government . . . That inconvenience caused is not designed, not intended . . . Consider what is happening now as what we call as birthing experience," Tugade added.
Duterte said he would consider placing former military men to head the TRB.
"If I see another glitch there... may memorandum pala kayo, saan ang mga tao?" he said.
"Can I find them? Palitan ko na lahat. 'Yung may experience na, 'yung dumaang administrasiyon, I don't care kung time ni Aquino, Arroyo . . . Hindi ko matanggap ang incompetence nyo.
"Itong Toll Regulatory Board kasi ang participation natin dito kayo."
Duterte added: "I will get another one to do it for you and for me . . . Magtaka kayo bakit military. Kasi ang military bago mag-atake 'yan may scout, there's always a system in every battle."