Recently, residents of Barangay Magallanes in Makati City were bombarded with criticism from netizens after their local leaders ordered the closure of two express RFID installation sites operating in their vicinity.
The off-site installation venues of Autosweep and Easytrip at the Shell station along South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), just beside the Magallanes Village, was closed down due to mounting complaints of violations of health protocols and causing heavy traffic in the area.
The SMC Tollways-owned Autosweep RFID has been maintaining a small kiosk at the Shell station for more than a year, while the Easytrip of Metro Pacific Tollways started processing electronic tags for motorists from a small corner within the area a few days after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) required the country’s two tollway companies to implement cashless transactions at their respective facilities.
The DOTr originally instructed the SMCT and MPT to implement the 100% RFID transactions on toll booths starting November 2, 2020, before this was extended to December 1.
Everything was going smoothly and orderly at first. But as the original November 2 deadline approached, applicants became more restless while waiting for their turn from the long queue and triggered overcrowding at the installation booths. This also caused the clogging of vehicles at the gas station’s driveway that affected the operations of business establishments within the area. Illegally parked vehicles spilled along the SLEX, too.
“Dahil diyan, tinawagan na kami ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) due to possible violations of health protocols,” says Jomar Alzona, chairman of Barangay Magallanes. There were also times when barangay tanods rushed to the area to defuse tension caused by some applicants who refused to honor the number queuing system. From a gracious host, they were now pictured as kontrabidas.
But it did not take long for the Autosweep RFID sticker installation to resume at the Shell facility while Easytrip decided to install electronic tags to the vehicles of residents separately at the barangay hall last October 20, to avoid congestion at the gasoline station. “Maayos na sistema at pakikipag-koordinasyon lang naman ang kailangan para maayos ang lahat,” he added.
Here are some important tips shared by Alzona for the swift, safe, and orderly conduct of RFID sticker installation which other off-site venues should consider:
1) Pre-registration of applicants.
Barangay Magallanes is active in posting their announcements on social media. They require applicants to pre-register on the barangay’s official Facebook or Viber account to determine the volume of RFID stickers they will request in advance from the provider. The first-come, first-served policy strictly applies here.
2) Door-to-door delivery also helps.
After they receive the pre-registration of the residents, barangay staff deliver the application forms right to their doorstep for them to fill up before they queue up at the barangay hall. This tedious but noble effort reduces the processing time to less than five minutes from the usual 7-8 minutes.
3) Big parking space is a must.
This barangay must be really blessed as a homeowner allowed his huge adjacent vacant lot to serve as parking space for the applicants’ vehicles. The applicants must follow a designated schedule allotted to them before they are allowed access to the parking area. They must also be ready with the documents of the vehicles along with the payment for the RFID tag.
4) Practice makes perfect.
Hosting public service activities like the RFID sticker installation is not new to Barangay Magallanes. For the past years, they organize satellite activities for renewal of vehicle registration at the barangay hall in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO). They also hosted the processing of gun license applications for the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the past years so they got accustomed to assisting residents with the help of barangay staff and tanods.
5) Dialogue is key to a harmonious relationship.
Alzona was direct and firm in pinpointing the lack of dialogue and coordination between stakeholders that triggered many problems in the processing of RFID stickers by the two providers. Lack of coordination is also the cause of the shortage of RFID stickers. With the system of pre-registration already in place, the barangay officials were able to request an adequate number of electronic tags before the staging of the activity.
In a bid to decongest the Shell station of applicants, Barangay Magallanes has informed Autosweep of their willingness to host the RFID sticker installation at their hall on November 11. There are several other villages with scheduled RFID sticker installations from either Autosweep or Easytrip. Are you having similar problems, too?