Valenzuela mayor: NLEX response 'falls short' of plans on RFID traffic mess

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The Toll Regulatory Board on Saturday said NLEX Corporation should comply with the Valenzuela City government's demands regarding the heavy traffic being experienced at toll plazas. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) — Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian on Saturday said he received the NLEX Corporation's response to his call for a solution to the traffic problem caused by the company's tollway system. However, he said it did not meet his standards.

On Facebook, the mayor published the letter he allegedly received from the company, which indicated NLEX’s appeal to be given 15 days to come up with an action plan. It was a request Gatchalian firmly rejected.

"The suffering Valenzuelano public can no longer wait for another 15 days as you requested," he said in his post. "[T]his letter falls short of concrete action plans, solutions and fixes."

Gatchalian did not say what would happen next but in a separate post he lamented the lack of apology in NLEX's reply.

"I don't know and I can be wrong, pero [but] I don't recall NLEX Corporation accepting its mistake and saying sorry. Kung meron man [if there is], conditional," the mayor said. "Baka we can start that muna [Maybe we can start that first]."

He also mentioned that some companies usually give concessions to make up for the damage caused until issues are resolved.

For its part, the Toll Regulatory Board told CNN Philippines that NLEX should comply with the local government's demands so it can keep operating.

"Alam naman natin mas mahirap sa motorista ang mawalan ng access...dahil baka isara itong mga toll plaza na 'yan," board spokesperson Julius Corpuz told CNN Philippines' Newsroom Weekend.

[Translation: We know it will be more difficult for motorists to lose access... because the toll plazas may have to be closed.]

On Friday, Gatchalian penned an angry complaint, threatening to suspend the business permit of NLEX Corporation over the bad traffic situation that resulted from errors at the toll booths. He later described it as a "highway robbery" by NLEX since motorists have already paid for the company's RFIDs which were supposed to provide them safe and cashless convenience.

"Dapat highway 'yan hindi garahe...daily ganyan kami," he said in a tweet.

[Translation: That should be a highway, not a garage. We experience this daily.]