Velasco urges DOTr to extend RFID installation deadline to March 2021
Robie de Guzman • December 7, 2020 • 350
MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Monday called on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to further extend the deadline for installing radio-frequency (RFID) tags on vehicles under the cashless payment system amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Velasco noted that all 6.1 million registered vehicles in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON may not be provided with RFID stickers by January 11, 2021 as set by the DOTr.
He said the DOTr should also consider the fact that the pandemic has constrained many vehicle owners from leaving their homes to have these RFID stickers installed.
“It would be more practicable if the deadline is further extended to March 31, 2021 to give all our motorists enough time to secure the stickers for the cashless payment system given that we are still in a pandemic where movement of people is limited,” he said.
Velasco made the call as tollways experienced gridlock upon the implementation of cashless payment last December 1.
The House Speaker also shared the observations made during the hearing of the House Committee on Transportation last November 25 in anticipation of the problems that could arise from the implementation of the cashless payment scheme at tollways.
Velasco said that the committee estimated it would take more than two years for all vehicles using the tollways to be provided with the RFID tags.
Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Edgar Sarmiento also noted that Thailand and Indonesia took a year and a half on average to be fully cashless.
“In comparison, it’s been barely five months from the issuance of the (DOTr’s) Department Order 2020-012 since the implementation of cashless payment,” Sarmiento said.
“The concerned agencies should have ensured first the feasibility of going cashless in the amount of time given to vehicle owners,” Velasco said.
“Instead, the implementation on Dec. 1 looked like a dry-run. This defeats the purpose of having our tollways becoming efficient in going cashless,” he added.
The DOTr earlier urged toll operators to open more off-site installation sites to provide more avenues for people to have their RFIDs installed.
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday said it has recommended the repeal of the department order and all issuances related to the delegation of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) to private operators.
The panel, headed by Senator Grace Poe, said in its Committee Report No. 184 that the implementation of the MVIS is “flawed” and that the policy is “half-baked.”
“In the meantime, the repeal of DOTr DO (Department Order) 2018-19 and all related issuances is recommended,” the report read.
“While fees have been lowered for now and testing seems to have been made optional, the implementation of this flawed program must be stopped definitively pending the resolution of issues hounding it,” it added.
The committee cited in its report various concerns on the implementation of the MVIS.
These include the issues on the legality of the MVIS privatization, lack of consultation and transparency in accreditation, inadequate number of inspection centers in operation, glitches in the system, and overall incompatibility of private motor vehicle inspection systems with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) IT and landscape of motor vehicles in the country.
The panel said these issues remain unresolved without decisive action from the Department.
It further recommended that the Senate blue ribbon committee conduct a probe on the “highly anomalous transactions” surrounding the accreditation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) and officials involved.
“The questionable issuances seem to have created a favorable environment for an oligopoly where only very few players can enter and succeed,” the report stated.
“The inexplicable dark moments during the evaluation process and lack of transparency in the eventual accreditation of winning service providers bear badges of fraud which should be further investigated by the appropriate committee,” it added.
The panel likewise pointed out in its report that the absence of clear definition of roadworthiness, coupled with identified flaws in the inspection standards, “almost guarantees that there will be errors in the test results.”
“[N]ot only that this might lead to corruption, some also believe that it intends to facilitate the phaseout of older vehicles without due process,” it added.
The report also emphasized that while “the policy of ensuring only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads is commendable, a half-baked policy is a bad policy.”
Poe earlier asked the DOTr and the LTO to submit the names of the companies and incorporators of the accredited PMVICs.
The committee report said that 12 out of 24 of them do not have enough capitalization to finance an expensive inspection center costing more than P50 million, and eight others registered as sole proprietorships contained no information as to their financial standing.
It also pointed out that with only 24 PMVICs currently operational out of 458 originally targeted by the LTO, the unclear noncompulsory status of the MVIS only leads to more confusion for motorists.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that the MVIS will no longer be mandatory following criticisms in its implementation.
The Transportation department also announced that PMVIC testing fees were lowered from P1,500 to P600 for private vehicles, and from P600 to P500 for motorcycles. The rate for public utility jeepneys, on the other hand, will remain at P300.
MANILA, Philippines – All individuals inside a vehicle are required to wear face masks, regardless if they are from the same household, the transportation and health departments said Friday.
In a joint statement, the two agencies said that the wearing of face masks is mandatory when the driver is with passengers inside the vehicle even if they are from the same household.
A driver can only remove his/her face mask if travelling alone.
This is pursuant to the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the two agencies said.
The transportation department said law enforcement agencies are yet to discuss and agree on how to implement the policy as well as the penalties to be imposed for violations.
The DOH-DOTr noted in their joint statement that proper coordination shall be made with and between the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), other law enforcement agencies, and local government traffic offices/units, concerning the proper implementation of this unified and clarified policy, and the imposition of appropriate fines and penalties for violations thereof, in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)
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