TRB head should be fired–Gatchalian

Senator Win Gatchalian, chairman of Senate Committee on Energy, presides the senate hearing on the controversies on the operations of the national power transmission grid by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on February 3, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday said it would be better to replace the current head of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) than to defund the agency.

Gatchalian earlier said he would ask for a veto of the TRB’s budget in the proposed P4.5-trillion General Appropriations Bill that President Rodrigo Duterte is currently reviewing. He scored the TRB and the Department of Transportation (DOTR) for requiring motorists to shift to the cashless toll payment system based on the radio frequency identification (RFID) that, however, resulted in worsening traffic at the expressways in Luzon.

“This is really out of sheer frustration and I’ve talked to some congressmen in Central Luzon, in Bulacan, our neighboring province, and they’re very frustrated by the TRB. This is a statement out of sheer frustration,” Gatchalian said in a radio interview.

But the senator said the country still needs the TRB.

“Definitely, we need a regulator. Whether it’s in the form of the TRB or it’s another government agency. We need a regulator to supervise and regulate that monopoly. If you ask me, it’s better to just get a qualified executive director,” he said.

“I’m sorry to say this, but with all due respect, the executive director is not doing his job. And this could be avoided if he has been on his toes, monitoring and making sure that the operators are performing up to the standard,” Gatchalian added.

Earlier, Senator Grace Poe said the TRB was “natutulog sa pansitan” or sleeping on the job as traffic at the expressways worsened after the TRB and DOTR required motorists to shift to the cashless toll system.

On Sunday, TRB Director Abraham Sales boasted that 90 percent of payments collected from expressway users was from the cashless or RFID-based system. PC reports.

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