AFTER being closed due to pandemic community quarantine restrictions, the Philippine Arena interchange in Bocaue, Bulacan will be open again to motorists on Saturday, Aug. 1, NLEX Corp. said.

The tollway company said there will be radio-frequency identification (RFID) sites at strategic areas of the interchange.

“To curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the interchange requires contactless transactions through RFID,” NLEX Corp. said in a statement.

As for the cash-paying motorists, the company said they will be required to sign up for an RFID account and have an RFID tag on their vehicles.

“The interchange is surrounded by a mega quarantine facility, a prospective terminal for northern provincial buses — both are inside the Philippine Arena complex, and a molecular testing laboratory located at the western portion. For everyone’s safety, we are implementing the RFID-only policy at the interchange. This would ensure physical distancing through cashless payments,” NLEX Corp. President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista was quoted as saying.

He added: “We are committed to provide our customers with safer and innovative payment solutions such as the RFID. We have several installation sites within the expressway and even offer 24/7 RFID installation for those who are not available during specified business hours.”

NLEX Corp. is under Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin