BUSINESS PERMITS ‘INHERENT RIGHT’ LGUs: Duterte stands with Valenzuela in NLEX issue

President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his understanding of the measures taken by the City Government of Valenzuela on North Luzon Expressways (NLEX) Corporation’s implementation of the RFID system – which gradually took a toll on the heavy traffic condition in Valenzuela City this month.

In the weekly briefing December 16, President Duterte states that the local government has the inherent right to enforce the law in the issuance of business permits and monitoring of noncompliance thereof.

“You do not come barging in and overruling them [LGU] because they have that inherent right – ‘yang business permit kasi ginagawa na lahat ng mga mayors yan. If you do not comply, then your noncompliance has an adverse effect in the lives of people… The mayor has the concurrent capacity to also, just like me, to enforce the law,” the President explained.

Valenzuela City Mayor REX Gatchalian, among other mayors, also has the in-depth view of their jurisdiction’s situation and can likewise enforce laws that will protect public interest.

“The traffic rules and regulations, the enforcement and the system itself sa isang siyudad, sa mayor ‘yan… Siya ang nakakaalam sa problema ng kaniyang siyudad,” President Duterte added.

The City Government of Valenzuela imposed the suspension of the business permit of NLEX Corporation under the premises of general welfare, public safety, and consumer rights last December 07. After discussions following its open solutions meeting last December 14, both parties reached a mutually acceptable agreement only yesterday, December 16, conditionally lifting the suspension of the business permit in which NLEX officially resumes its charging of toll fees and business operations in Valenzuela – still while barriers are up on a timed duration of 5:00 am to 10:00 pm.

The President also states that the bold move of the local government to suspend the business permit of NLEX helped a lot and understood Mayor Rex handling of the situation saying, “Naandon siyang mayor, galit na galit and I could understand this… With all the conundrum taking place pati ako magagalit talaga and I understand his burst of anger.”

In attendance also in the briefing is Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade who expressed his apologies to the local government and states that the Department will take actions to immediately resolve the NLEX RFID issue and traffic situation in toll plazas, pushing for a #BarriersUp solution given NLEX scanners are of a 98% readability rate.

“Study the removal of the barriers… ‘Pag nagkaroon ng glitch [of RFID scanners], pila yan. Sagutin niyo [NLEX] na ‘yon kasi that is a problem of the system. If it is a problem of the system, why should you make the travellers and the public suffer? You bear the cost because that is your system,” Secretary Tugade says.

“Nahihiya po ako sa Valenzuela, sa mga local government, sa mga nagmamaneho. Be assured, that your Department of Transportation together with the TRB, the LTO, and the LTFRB, are trying its utmost best to achieve that interoperability… Again I express my apologies to the users of the tollways, to the local government,” Secretary Tugade added.

In his statement, Mayor REX thanked President Duterte for the affirmation and validation of the local government’s efforts to resolve the NLEX issue.

“The City Government of Valenzuela is extremely grateful to our President for affirming our actions against NLEX these past days. We are also thankful to the President for recognizing local governments’ inherent rights to manage affairs in its jurisdiction… Maraming salamat Mr. President, for your validation,” Mayor REX said.

“We believe that the barriers up concept is a step towards the right direction and we shall strive to ensure efficient, safe and convenient driving experience for all motorist traversing the streets of Valenzuela,” Mayor REX added.