PUBLIC WORKS Secretary Mark A. Villar said the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will study requests to suspend the collection of tolls at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).
Mr. Villar, who is also a member of the TRB, told reporters Tuesday that the board will take up the matter.
“Wala pang notice kung kailan. Of course, siguro pag-aaralan muna (There is still no word when it will discuss the matter. I expect the issue to undergo study first),” he said.
Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Oct. 7 urged the TRB to suspend or reduce the tolls collected by SLEx, which has been severely congested due to construction activity.
“Para mabigyan naman ng kaunting relief ang mga kababayan natin, I do recommend na i-slash or suspend muna ang toll rates (To provide relief to road users, I recommend a reduction or suspension in the collection of tolls),” he told reporters.
He added: “The TRB can also call for a hearing. In fact, dapat ang TRB ay mino-monitor itong situation dahil ang lahat ng construction ay dumadaan sa kanila eh. They should call for a hearing and then analyze kung dapat bigyan ng relief ang ating motorists. (The TRB should be monitoring the situation because it evaluates all construction proposals. They should call for a hearing and analyze whether motorists should be given relief)”
Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corp. (SOMCO), which is managed by San Miguel Corp. (SMC), is currently undertaking preliminary works on its extension project for the Skyway system, affecting SLEx.
Mr. Villar said the ongoing construction is better undertaken sooner than later, saying: “Mas mabuti nang gawin na natin ‘yan ngayon… Kasi nagkakaroon ng build-up sa area na ‘yan. Kung hindi natin gagawin ngayon, baka in a few years mahirap na (It’s better to do it now, because the area is becoming built-up. If we don’t do it now, it might be more difficult to do in a few years).”
SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang has taken responsibility for the road congestion along the SLEx and promised that the problem will be resolved by Dec. 1.
SOMCO said on Oct. 1 that it will expedite the major preliminary work on its extension project. — Arjay L. Balinbin