A private fire truck that was responding to a fire alarm in Bulacan was held up on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and was asked to pay the fee.
According to Saleema Refran’s report on “24 Oras,” members of the Marikina Filipino-Chinese Fire Brigade Volunteers were en route to Calumpit, Bulacan to respond to a fire alarm early Sunday when they were briefly stalled at the Mindanao toll plaza.
The truck stayed there for around three minutes but was later allowed to pass without paying.
GMA News sought the reaction of the Marikina Filipino-Chinese Fire Brigade Volunteers but it declined to comment.
On its Facebook page, the fire volunteer group called the incident an “isolated case.” It also defended the cashier saying she is only complying with the guidelines of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).
The group further said that despite being a private entity, it was never asked to pay toll during emergencies.
“Strictly po kung susundan po ‘yung Department Order at Memorandum Order, dapat talaga pa siyang magbayad kasi private po siya, hindi siya government vehicle. However, …because of the emergency situation, naging policy naman ng NLEX na lahat ng ‘yan ay libre na,” TRB spokesperson Julius Corpuz said.
(If they strictly adhere to our Department and Memorandum Orders, the fire truck should pay because it was a private vehicle and not a government vehicle. However, because of the emergency situation, it became the NLEX’s policy to make it free.)
Corpuz added the TRB had sent a letter to NLEX regarding the incident.
NLEX, for its part, explained the fire truck was stalled because it verified the information first. While government vehicles are exempt from fees, the management said private fire trucks and ambulances may also be included in the exemption with prior advice to its traffic control personnel.