It seems it's not only the Department of Transportation (DOTr) that is getting flak due to the botched implementation of the cashless transaction across all toll roads.
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte warned officials of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) that they may be sacked from their posts should another incident such as the traffic mess caused by the faulty RFID system happen again.
“Another fiasco, alis na kayong lahat at ilagay ko nalang sa isang tao,” said Duterte.
[Another fiasco, you're all out and I'll just put one person to handle things]
He also mentioned that DOTr Secretary Art Tugade must regularly contact the TRB in order to make sure that they are doing their job. Should the TRB not be doing their job right, Duterte said that they will just set them aside and get retired military personnel to handle things at TRB.
“I have to weed out incompetence. I do not want you becoming deadwood. If you cannot perform what is expected of you then the best that you can do for decency’s sake, resign and do not wait to be fired,” added Duterte.
The President said that all of the traffic mess and confusion could have been avoided if the TRB had fully prepared for the rollout of the cashless transaction system before it was implemented. For Duterte, the incompetence has caused additional hardships on the people.
“Next time you prepare the public. Kayong mga regulators (You regulators), if there are changes, if there are said innovations there, let them practice it. Public interest, protect the public. Do not for Christ’s sake, do not make it hard for the people to survive. I’ve been telling you just to make the Philippines a comfortable place,” said the President.
As to why Duterte did not blame the toll operators, he said that it was the TRB's job in the first place to have studied and tested the cashless payment system on a trial run before it was carried out. He also understood Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian's move to suspend NLEX Corporation's business permit since traffic last week became so bad due to the glitches.
Duterte has urged TRB officials to meet with DOTr Secretary Art Tugade in order to discuss the measures to fix the RFID mess. Earlier, Tugade issued an apology to the LGUs and motorists that were affected by the faulty cashless system. He vows that the DOTr, LTO, and LTFRB are working together to achieve interoperability of the RFIDs.