Home>Editorial>Opinion>Mayor Gatchalian poses good challenge to NLEX

Mayor Gatchalian poses good challenge to NLEX

CONGRATULATIONS to CEB for having been rated 7/7 stars by airlineratings.com for its COVID-19 compliance, as it continues to implement a multi-layered approach to safety, in accordance with global aviation standards. These include contactless procedures, thorough cleaning and disinfection protocols for all aircraft and facilities, mandatory wearing of masks and face shields for both passengers and crew, as well as Antigen testing for CEB frontliners before duty.

On top of these, CEB vice president for marketing Candice Iyog says the airline’s aircraft area is also equipped with hospital-grade HEPA filters with 99.99% efficacy, keeping viruses at bay.


Congratulations are also in order for Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian for having stood up against the North Luzon Expressway Corporation (NLEX) following a dialogue meant to iron out the kinks in the implementation in tollways of the controversial Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

Gatchalian had ordered the suspension of the company’s operation since December 7, until NLEX “completes its upgrade” in the operation of its RFID system by January 30, 2021. What triggered this move by Gatchalian were the massive traffic jams in areas along tollways which he branded as a “disregard of general welfare, public safety, and consumer rights.”

Netizens and motorists hailed Gatchalian for the decision , since it paved the way for a toll holiday in six NLEX toll plazas in the city— Karuhatan-Harbor Link Toll Plaza, Karuhatan-MacArthur Highway Sub-Exit, Mindanao Avenue Toll Plaza, Paso de Blas Toll Plaza, Lawang Bato Toll Booth and Karuhatan-Mindanao Avenue Toll Plaza.

However, the motorists’ joy was shortlived when on Wednesday, Gatchalian, via Executive Order (EO) No. 2020-338, allowed the ‘conditional’ lifting of the said suspension of business permit and business activities of NLEX in the city, after a Deed of Undertaking was signed by the two parties.

NLEX Corporation said it will remove or lift all barriers in Valenzuela City toll plazas from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but toll fees will still be collected.

Said barriers will then be placed again from 10:01 p.m. to 4:59 a.m. daily for safety reasons.

The barriers, which bar motorists from entering the expressway unless they pay their toll fees first, partially caused massive gridlock at toll booths due to glitches in the company’s RFID or toll fee collection system.

NLEX President and General Manager J. Luigi Bautista presented plans to resolve the problems on decongesting toll plazas in Valenzuela City, RFID sticker issues and reloading challenges as well, saying their company intends to reopen cash lanes in strategic locations in the toll plazas in the city, deploy RFID assistants and upgrade its RFID system.

Gatchalian had warned that if NLEX fails to comply with any of the stipulations stated in their undertaking or violates any local and national laws, rules and regulations, the local government will issue again its suspension order “without any further notice or issuance.”

Interestingly, Gatchalian posed a challenge to NLEX officials. He wants them to immediately remove all its barriers if indeed, they are confident enough of their claim that RFID has 98 percent readability rate.

I hope someone will also have the same set of balls to take the cudgels for the adversely affected motorists going south and also using RFID…


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Direct Hit entertains comments, suggestions or complaints. Please have them emailed to [email protected] or text 0917-3132168.

Itchie G. Cabayan
DIRECT HIT entertains comments, suggestions or complaints. Please have them emailed to [email protected] or text 0917-3132168.