The Department of Transportation (DOTr) aims to strike a balance between public welfare amid a health crisis and the right of investors in expressways for a reasonable return.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said his group understands that expressway operators need revenues to sustain their operators, but noted that public interest is always paramount.

“We can approve the increase, but we don’t have to implement it immediately. It is a balancing act between public interest and the profitability of our expressway operators,” he said.

Tugade emphasized that there will be “no toll hike amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We understand the need of operators to increase the toll in order to sustain their funding requirements. But we also need to put public interest ahead due to the pandemic. We need to strike a good balance,” he said.

Tugade chairs the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB). He is part of a possible Senatorial slate of the PDP-Laban in the coming elections.

Asked about the upcoming elections, Tugade simply said he will first “focus on finishing the various development projects” of his agency.

“Let’s just cross the bridge, sabi nga, when we get there. But in the meantime, my priority is putting into place the projects which we could finish, can finish, and should finish within this very limited time,” Tugade said.

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