RFID system

Despite the protests from several groups, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and its private sector partner Stradcom Corp. will proceed with the implementation of the radio frequency identification (RFID) project for vehicles this year.  "We are going to get the approval of the National Telecommunication Commission for the project," Mr. Vince Dizon, Stradcom vice president for public relations, said during a consultation with various transport groups at the main office of the LTO in Quezon City last week.

Before this, the NTC had threatened to confiscate the RFID units that the LTO plans to install on all vehicles in the country, saying these gadgets need to be approved by the government regulator.  The project involves the use of RFID tags or microchips that pick up and send signals as well as proximity readers that transmit signals to the tags.  LTO chief Arturo Lomibao said the project allows electronic verification of vehicle identity and data, which would enable the LTO to detect colorum and out of line  public utility vehicles.

"We will register all the RFID tags and proximity readers with the NTC," Mr. Dizon said.  "We don't see any problem in securing the approval of NTC."
Mr. Dizon said the RFID proximity readers will operate within the frequency bands 918 – 920 megahertz, which was within the prescribed bands of NTC for RFID units.

In 2006, the NTC issued Memorandum Circular No. 03-08-2006, prescribing the use and operation of the RFID system within the frequency bands 13.553 – 13.567 megahertz; 918 – 920 MHz; and 2446 – 2454 MHz.

Mr. Douglas Michael Mallillin, deputy commissioner of the NTC, said only type approved RFID proximity readers shall be allowed for use in the country.  He said the NTC needs to ensure that all radio equipment comply with the regulations, so that they cannot interfere with radio broadcast or telecom operations approved by the commission.

Mr. Dizon said the RFID tags and proximity readers will be shipped to the country soon.  "We will register them with the NTC upon arrival," he said.  Mr. Mallillin, however, had reminded Stradcom that the shipments will not be cleared with the Bureau of Customs without the mark of the NTC.

The LTO originally set the implementation of the project on 1st October 2009, but this was deferred to 3rd November, amid criticism from several groups who warned that this may invade the privacy of motorists.

In its new schedule, the LTO said it will continue public consultation until 31st October, while the preliminary implementation will begin on 3rd November up to 31st December 2009.  Nationwide implementation will begin by 1st January next year.

The project requires vehicle owners to pay an additional PhP350 as tagging fee.  Stradcom claimed that it will get only PhP14.62 out of every transaction.

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