RFID Stirs Protests
Militant transport groups and their allies opposing the motor vehicle electronic tagging project of the Land Transportation Office staged a protest caravan from Quezon City to the Department of Transportation and Communications headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Monday in efforts to stop the controversial project.Other transport groups, however, expressed support for the radio frequency identification (RFID) project, saying it would help eradicate illegal public utility vehicles that are competing with legitimate operators.The protest caravan was led by the transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) and the Gabriela women’s party, among others.Allied groups had sought from the Supreme Court a temporary restraining order against the RFID project last December 16, claiming that a bill in Congress is needed for its execution.The High Tribunal is expected to tackle the matter this Tuesday.Lawmakers led by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo petitioned the SC to declare the project unconstitutional and illegal. They claimed it did not pass through legal channels, including a public bidding process and review by the National Economic Development Authority.Secretary Leandro Mendoza of the DOTC, LTO chief Arturo Lomibao and Stradcom Corp., the winning bidder for the project, were named respondents in the petition.The petitioners charged the respondents with committing grave abuse of discretion: Mendoza for approving the implementation of the project without public bidding and in violation of the country’s procurement laws and Lomibao for issuing its implementing rules and regulations, a usurpation of the legislative power of Congress.Under the RFID project, all vehicles are required to install stickers containing microchips that stores vehicle information.For a one-time fee of P350, the LTO plans to install the RFID tags on some 4.7 million vehicles thereby raising P1.6 billion in revenues. Each RFID tag is supposed to last 10 years.Asked for comment, DOTC spokesperson Thompson Lantion told reporters that what he knows is that the LTO informed the NEDA about the project, which was implemented starting last Jan. 4. He said the department would respect whatever the Supreme Court verdict would be.Meanwhile, LTO spokesperson Jason Salvador said new receipts bearing the amount paid …
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Publication information: Article title: RFID Stirs Protests. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Manila Bulletin. Publication date: January 11, 2010. Page number: Not available. © 2009 Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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