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by Paul Kerstein

RFID Fuels Gas Savings for Philippines Army

Nov 17, 20053 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

The constant rise in fuel prices may have reduced the fuel allocationfor the Philippines’ military, but at least radio frequency technologyor RFID is helping reduce unwarranted and unscrupulous gas consumption.

Instead of giving away gas slips, military personnel are now issued keytags equipped with RFID chips that store information on monthly fuelallocation. The technology also allows the Armed Forces of thePhilippines (AFP) to monitor gas consumption in real time.

These RFID key tags (referred to as keyfobs) are pre-loaded every monthand used when loading up gas at the Petron station at Camp Aguinaldo,which has eight pumps equipped with RFID readers.

Fuel allocation varies according to military unit. But over the years,the allocation within the military has decreased because the budgetstays the same even with the steady increase in gas prices, says Col.Bernardino Ricafrente from the Office of the Quartermaster General(OTQMG), which oversees the allocation supplies within the AFP.

The OTQMG issued keyfobs to more than 40 AFP units, which then issuedthem to individual users. The average monthly allocation per user is100 liters, also depending on the kind of fuel (gas or diesel). Whenscanned through the reader, the system shows remaining fuel allocation.

The system has helped reduce rampant distribution of gas slips even tocivilians. And before, with the use of gas slips, users could easilyget away with loading up more than what is indicated, Ricafrenteexplained in an interview with Computerworld Philippines during a sitevisit at Camp Aguinaldo.

The fleet fueling system is controlled centrally via a Web-basedapplication called iTag Fuel Track developed by AC Corp., a localcompany that develops applications using RFID technology.

The keyfobs are equipped with passive or non-battery powered chips thancan transmit signals from about two to three centimeters on the 13.56megahertz frequency. AC Corp. sources its RFID chips from TexasInstruments.

Since the project began early this year, there have been more than athousand keyfobs issued within the AFP alone, says Ivan Fojas, planningand development manager at AC Corp, which is also doing a similar fleetfueling system for the Philippine National Police (PNP).

AC Corp. previously developed a fuel management system using smartcards (more or less similar to credit cards) for the AFP until itmigrated the system to RFID, which offers long-term advantages. Fojaspointed out: Because it’s basically contact-less, RFID tags are moredurable than smart cards.

Fojas added RFID chips can’t be easily cloned unlike smart cards, whichare now easily reproduced and loaded with credit card informationsupplied by hackers.

By Lawrence Casiraya – Computerworld Philippines