Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has apologized to the public and local government units (LGUs) for the problems encountered in the implementation of the Radio Frequency Identification payment system in expressways.

Transporation secretary Arthur Tugade (ALI VICOY/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade

“I express my apologies to the users of the tollways, to the local government, for the inconvenience whatever is caused,” Tugade said in a televised meeting with President Duterte Wednesday.

Duterte expressed frustration during the meeting over the issues hounding the RFID payment scheme which has been criticized due to glitches in its system that caused monstrous traffic jams in toll plazas.

Tugade assured that the inconvenience being experienced by motorists is “not designed and not intended,” adding that they are already working to correct the system.

He said that he has asked toll operators to study the removal of boom barriers in toll plazas to allow smooth entry of vehicles, including police and emergency cars, on the expressway.

“Kapag nagkaroon ng glitch, pila ‘yan, sagutin niyo na ‘yon kasi (When there is a glitch, there will be a pile-up of vehicles, that should be your problem because) that is a problem of the system. Why should you make the travelers and the public suffer? You bear the cost because that is your system,” he said. 

“Pag-aralan ninyo lang sa lalong madaling panahon ‘yan kasi i-implement ko talaga ‘yan. Ipapaalis ko ‘yung mga barriers (Study it as soon as possible because I will really implement that. I will remove the barriers),” Tugade warned.

The DOTr chief added that he has instructed toll operators to remove stickering lanes, particularly on major toll plazas, and separate the cash and RFID lanes to avoid traffic in the area.

Tugade said that he is “embarrassed” to the Valenzuela City local government and other LGUs, as well as motorists, who have been affected by the problems encountered in the RFID scheme but vowed that they will correct the system.

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian had earlier suspended the business permit of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) following complaints of motorists on faulty RFID sensors and other issues that caused heavy traffic in the city.

The President dared  Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) officials to resign due to their “incompetence” over the RFID mess and called out toll operators in their own handling of the system.

The DOTr issued in August Department Order 2020-012 which required toll operators the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) and the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to fully implement cashless toll collections at the expressways and major toll roads.

This is in line with the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 through limited physical contact, as well as avoid traffic congestion in toll plazas.

Source: Manila Bulletin (