How to apply for the new RFID Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) tags.

May 28, 2015

Yes, it's true. The SLEX will be making e-passes obsolete. Good news is that they are replacing them with something much more efficient and less likely to misplace. It's called the RFID tag, and one helpful motorist, Elbert Cuenca, decided to put down this short how to guide to let you know what to expect and how to make the transition as pain-free as possible.

Requirements before you go:
The car that you wish to have the RFID attached to.
A pen to fill out the forms
A copy of your car’s registration OR/CR
A valid ID (like a driver’s license, SSS ID or passport) bearing the registered car owner’s name— in case the application will be done by a representative, a letter of authorization, a copy of the registered owner’s ID and the ID of the representative
Your credit card (if you wish to enroll your account to load with credit automatically)


Where to go:
The Skyway O&M Corporation (SOMCO) office, also known as the Skyway head office in Bicutan Paranaque. If you haven’t been there before, you can’t miss it, as it is directly at the end of the Skyway Bicutan south-bound offramp
Manila Toll Expressway Systems, Inc (MaTES) head office along SLEX northbound by Cabuyao.

Also, more an more Petron stations are setting up satellite offices, so best to check with them as well to save the trip.

Steps to acquiring the new RFID sticker
Park your car in the slots directly across the SOMCO Customer Service and Business Centre entrance or participating Petron stations.
Find the makeshift RFID application tables/tents at the parking area.
Ask for the RFID application form. If you want to enroll a credit card for automated loading, ask for that form too.
Fill up them forms. There are tables and chairs provided for this.
Submit the forms, along with a copy of the car’s registration papers and present your ID. Point to the location of your car.
Specify if your windshield is NOT tint-free. For cars with front windshield tint will, they will install the alternate headlight-mounted external RFID sticker.
Using a handheld device, they will test that the sticker works through the glass before applying the adhesive.
Once verified to be working, they will position the sticker in the center of the windshield and at least 3 inches from the edge of the top of the windshield. In case there are obtrusions, like a rearview mirror stem, they will position the sticker 3 inches below that. With the owner’s go-ahead signal, they will mount the sticker. If the windshield is not feasible, they will use the version designed for the headlight— a clear strip with a black square, which they will insist to place in the very center of the headlight.
The customer then goes to the encoding table inside the lobby of the Skyway office. The staff will verify the accuracy information on the application form and enter it into their system along with the RFID’s number.
The customer is then directed to the card printing station. They will print a plastic, credit card-sized E-Card, which contains the user’s the account number, the car’s plate number and a QR code. This is what’s used by the toll booth staff should the RFID tag fail to work.
Last step is the collection of a minimum prepaid load of P500. You can give any amount you wish.


Started in early May of 2015, San Miguel Corporation is currently giving away the first 200,000 stickers for free (in the first two weeks, only a few thousand were availed of). After this, they will be charging P200 per sticker
You can go anytime during the day for as long as it’s during office hours. A weekday morning will be less busy than a Saturday.
The entire process is quick. For as long as it’s not crowded and the persons ahead of you don’t ask too many questions, it can take as short as15 minutes to complete.
The RFID account it totally separate from the old E-Pass system, so you are essentially applying for a brand new account.

In fact, the RFID system is by San Miguel Corporation SMC and not by the Skyway management, which explains why all the tables, tents and booths at the Skyway office are makeshift.
One RFID account is all that’s needed for multiple cars. This is quite convenient because one prepaid load is shared amongst all RFID stickers.
You can opt to cancel an existing E-Pass account and deactivate the transponder on-the-spot. The RFID staff will collect the E-Pass transponder from you. You may also apply to transfer whatever prepaid load is in the E-Pass to the new RFID account, a process that will take 7 days.
Although a just-installed RFID is immediately activated, it will take a few hours to reflect the prepaid load, so you’ll have to go to the cash lane to re-enter the highway.
A credit card auto-load application may take a few days to activate, so it would be a good idea to preload more than just the minimum P500.
The old E-Pass system will be phased out at the end of 2015.
For now, the RFID works where the E-Pass is accepted. Eventually, it will be accepted at all tollways owned and operated by SMC: Skyway (elevated and at-grade), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Alabang-Calamba-Santo Tomas Expressway (ACTEx), Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), and the upcoming Skyway Stage 3, TR 4 in Lucena, once completed.
There is no mention if Metro Pacific Tollways will adapt this same RFID system for use in their concessions NLEX, SCTEX and Cavitex.

The stickers are passive (no need for batteries), and are supposed to last the life of the car. Should the sticker get damaged, a replacement sticker can be availed of for a fee of P200.

About the Author

James Deakin
James Deakin is a multi-awarded automotive journalist located in Manila, Philippines. He has a weekly column in the Philippine STAR's motoring section, is a motoring corespondent for CNN Philippines and is the host of the Philippine motoring television show Drive, which airs every Sunday night at 10pm on CNN Philippines.