BACOLOD City Land Transportation Chief Antonio Norman V. Saril said the Radio Frequency Identification Tagging (RFID) is not compulsory.

Saril, in view of the full implementation of the Radio Frequency Identification Tagging (RFID), announced that five Stradcom Taggers authorized to install the RFID chips to motor vehicles and are available with charging fees at P350.00.

But he said however that the tagging is not compulsory and its implementation will be announced later. All these tagging team are properly uniformed, he said.

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Meanwhile, on Wednesday, former senator Ralph G. Recto blasted the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for implementing RFID system without going through the required legal process, specifically obtaining the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

“The implementation of the RFID system is illegal after failing to go through the process prescribed by our existing laws. As it increased fees and charges charged by the LTO in registering new vehicles, it should have undergone Neda evaluation to determine its reasonableness,” Recto, former Neda chief and Socioeconomic Planning secretary said.

The implementation of the RFID system should have the approval of the Neda board chair, who is no less than President Arroyo, added Recto.

“If this is being implemented despite the escalating uproar from motorists, is it correct to assume that this has the imprimatur of the President? But if she’s not aware of this, who signed on the dotted lines?”

Recto added: “Who is powerful enough to bypass President Arroyo in the approval of the RFID system? The award of the project and its hasty implementation become even more suspect as we approach the end of the Arroyo administration and the May 2010 elections.”

He said even Malacañang-issued Memorandum Circular 137-2007 was ignored which requires all heads of national government agencies, including government-owned and/or controlled corporations, to seek prior clearance from the Neda Board before imposing new fees or increasing existing ones.

“The memo had been bypassed by the LTO when it proceeded to implement the RFID system at the start of this year, on top of allegations it violated procurement laws because the project was awarded without bidding,” said Recto, who is running for senator under the banner of the Liberal Party. (With PNA)