Toll rebate for agricultural trucks begins June 1

Ramon Efren Lazaro - The Philippine Star
Toll rebate for agricultural trucks begins June 1
Motorists traveling from the northern provinces to Metro Manila experience light to moderate traffic at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), as seen from the Bocaue Toll Plaza in Bulacan on January 2, 2024.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Trucks transporting agricultural products will be exempted from toll rate increases and receive rebates starting June 1.

“This program aims to protect the welfare of the general public by minimizing the impact of toll rate increase on the overall inflationary situation to ensure the stability of food prices,” Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) executive director Alvin Carullo said before the weekend.

Covered by the program are the Manila-Cavite Expressway, North Luzon Expressway, Subic Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway.

To qualify for the toll rate increase exemption, agri-trucks should be accredited by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and should have valid Autosweep and/or Easytrip RFID accounts.

Qualified agri-trucks should first register their RFID accounts with their respective toll expressway concessionaires and operators.

Easytrip RFID account holders may visit the NLEX Balintawak Customer Service Center and the CAVITEX Parañaque Customer Service Center.

Autosweep RFID account holders meanwhile may visit the C5 Office, Petron Commerce, Petron KM 44 Northbound, Calamba Customer Service Center, SLEX Greenfields, Southwoods Northbound, Southwoods Southbound, Sta. Rosa Northbound, Sta. Rosa Southbound, Star Toll Lipa Customer Service Center and Tarlac Customer Service Center.

Enrollees will be required to submit their original DA accreditation certificate, a copy of the vehicle’s official receipt or certificate of registration, a valid ID and their Easytrip/Autosweep card.

Lastly, they will have to fill out and submit the Agricultural Trucks Toll Fee Increase Exemption Form provided by the Customer Service Center personnel.

Submitted documents will undergo a verification process within seven working days. Enrollees will be notified of their enrollment status via their registered email addresses.

Once approved, agri-truckers will enjoy a toll rebate that will be credited to their RFID accounts every Wednesday of the following week.

As part of monitoring and to prevent abuse, spot checks will be conducted to ensure enrolled trucks are transporting agricultural goods/products. Non-compliance may result in disqualification from the program.

The program will initially run for three months, subject to evaluation for possible extension.

“This move should help reduce price pressures on food products and ease the burden on consumers,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu-Laurel Jr. said as he gave assurance that the government is finding more ways to reduce retail prices of agricultural products.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary and spokesman Arnel de Mesa said there are at least 956 truckers accredited by the DA that are covered by the rebate.

The program was launched by the TRB, Department of Finance, Department of Transportation and the DA in collaboration with the toll expressway concessionaires and operators of CAVITEX, NLEX, SCTEX, MCX and SLEX.

Cabbage prices drop

A farmers’ group in Benguet reported a slump in the farmgate price of cabbage as it went down to P2 to P3 per kilo but the retail cost remains high.

Based on monitoring of the DA in Metro Manila markets, cabbage is sold at P100 per kilo.

Benguet Farmers’ Cooperative manager Agot Balanoy said the farmers in Benguet were forced to bring their produce back to their farms amid the low wholesale price of cabbage.

“The cost of production of cabbage ranged between P15 and P17 per kilo, so if the farmgate price is P2 to P3 (per kilo), we are already suffering losses,” Balanoy said in a radio interview. — Bella Cariaso

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