VEHICLES approach the NLEX Balintawak toll plaza, May 18, 2021. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has released the rules governing toll waivers for trucks carrying farm goods, part of a broader government effort to curb rising food prices.

The TRB said trucks carrying agricultural products need to be accredited by the Department of Agriculture to be eligible for the exemption.

It cited the need to prevent second-round effects of toll increases on inflation and ensure stability in food prices.

Food inflation accelerated to 6.3% in April from 5.7% the previous month and 8% a year earlier. Headline inflation picked up to 3.8%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“In order to ensure seamless implementation of the program, the TRB shall coordinate on a monthly basis with the DA, through its Food Lane Accreditation Projects, the updated master list of accredited (vehicles),” it said.

The TRB said that having an Autosweep or Easytrip Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) account is a pre-requisite for availing of the exemption.

It added that a weekly rebate will be credited to the RFID accounts of all accredited vehicles or trucks in the program.

“To facilitate the movement of food commodities and to easily account for the transactions, tollway operators shall provide specific lanes… provided that they are non-exclusive,” the TRB said.

The toll exemptions cover users of the North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway, Subic-Clark Expressway, and Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway.

Last year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. suspended the collection of pass-through fees along national roads to lower the logistics costs of farm goods, under Executive Order No. 41. — Adrian H. Halili