A MILITANT transport group said Friday the Land Transportation Office (LTO) need to refund a total of P46.7 million in fees it collected from vehicle owners nationwide from the controversial Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID).

Pinag-isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytors Nationwide (Piston) warned that failure on the part of the LTO to refund the said amount before the Supreme Court (SC) issue a restraining order early this week would lead them to mount a transport strike next week.

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"LTO chief Arturo Lomibao should listen to the Malacanang who said that they should immediately give the refund. They should refund about P46.7 million," said George San Mateo, secretary general of Piston.

He said that based on LTO figures, the agency was able to tag about 90,000 motor vehicles with the radio frequency device.

The agency charged vehicle owners P350 per RFID tag.

But San Mateo said the LTO need to refund vehicle owner P519.06 and not P350 alone.

"What LTO should refund is P519.06 and not P350 because the actual price they collected for every RFID sticker was P519.06. Aside from the sticker, they also asked for P169.06 for computer fee," he added.

He said Piston is now coordinating with various anti-RFID groups for the planned mass actions next week.

Earlier, Lomibao said the LTO would comply with the restraining order of the High Court, saying it has already suspended the tagging of motor vehicles since the order was issued.

He said they would hold in abeyance the tagging of vehicles until after the SC resolved with finality the case on the RFID scheme.

On January 12, the SC stopped the implementation of the scheme based on the petition filed by the militant transport group, Piston and party-list groups, including Bayan Muna.

The groups questioned the constitutionality and legality of the RFID project, saying it violate one's privacy and provisions of Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) requiring all government transactions and procurement to undergo competitive public bidding.

Their position, however, was contradicted by Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap), Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Assocations of the Philippines (Altodap), Land Transportation Organization of the Philippines (LTOP), NTU-Transporter, Pasang-Masda Nationwide Inc., and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (Acto).

Earlier, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Satur Ocampo called on the LTO to heed the SC order and immediately refund the P350 paid by car owners who have registered before the restraining order.

Ocampo said despite the high court's ruling, they are still studying the option of filing graft charges against the LTO for its premature collection of fees even if questions related to the scheme has yet to be resolved. (AH/Sunnex)