The only times we get to drive on the expressway free of toll are during the wee hours of Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Soon, however, we might be able to drive on both the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) for free more often. How often? Well, more often than just Christmas and New Year, even during certain holidays of the year.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has formally filed Senate Bill 2220, which proposes to “exempt all vehicles from paying toll fees on certain holidays”. The proposed bill seeks to amend a provision from Presidential Decree No. 1112, specifically Section 6, which exempts all government vehicles from toll charges during holidays. Should the bill be passed, it would amend the law to allow all private vehicles to be exempted from toll charges during certain holidays as well. It was not specified, however, which holidays would be covered.

The Senate President referred to a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group which says that Metro Manila motorists spend an average of 66 minutes in daily traffic. Because of this, it places Metro Manila as the third-worst in traffic in Southeast Asia and equates to the Philippines losing approximately Php 3.5 billion per day due to traffic congestion, which go up as high as Php 5.4 billion by 2035 if traffic woes are not resolved. Aside from financial loses, traffic also affects the motorist's health and quality of life in general.

According to Sotto, travelling toll free on expressways on certain holidays would be one solution to the traffic that Filipinos experience during holiday getaways. This is often seen at the entry and exit points of toll plazas which cause gridlock in the area. If passed, it would also ensure smooth travel through NLEX, SLEX, and other connecting highways.

You may read the full formally submitted proposition here.