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LTO apologizes as clinic accreditations for online system stall license processing

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Tuesday apologized to the public for the inconvenience brought about by its move to transmit medical certificates electronically as part of the requirements to obtain student permits and driver's licenses.

LTO Region 1 Director Teofilo Guadiz III, who helped draft the guidelines for the new system, said that the failure of medical clinics to obtain accreditation led to a slowdown in the processing of driver's licenses on the first day of implementation on Monday.

"Humihingi ho kami ng pang-unawa sa una at pangalawang araw ng aming implementasyon nitong computerization. Hindi ho kaagad lahat na-accredit yung mga medical clinic," he said.

"Mas marami 'yung mga hindi kaagad nag-apply, thinking na pag-apply ka ma-approve kaagad ng isang araw," he added.

Guadiz also said that the LTO's IT infrastructure needed time to adjust to the new system.

Memorandum Circular No. 2018 – 2157, which mandates all renewal offices to only accept certificates sent electronically by accredited doctors and clinics, had only been implemented Monday in LTO's NCR and Region XI offices.

With less than half of accredited medical clinics able to meet the computerization requirements, applicants had to contend with limited slots. In Tayuman, Manila, for example, only four out of 12 medical clinics were qualified to process the electronic transmittal of medical certificates.

"You can just imagine mam 'yung sine-service ng labindalawa, apat lang po ang nagse-serve as of yesterday, kasi po hindi pa po nila natatapos 'yung mga documentary requirement para ma-accredit sila as a medical clinic," said Guadiz. 

At one LTO branch, an applicant said he had been going back and forth from Manila to Pampanga for two days just to get his license renewed.

"Maghapon kami dito eh ano po itutulog ko mamaya may trabaho na naman ako mamaya?" asked Efren Erenia.

Guadiz said that complaining applicants would not have had to endure the long queue if they had filed their requirements early.

"Mas marami 'yung mga hindi kaagad nag-aapply thinking na maa-approve kaagad ng isang araw," he said. "Kung nakapag-apply ho sana nu'ng December pa and then na ayos nila ID requirements nila dapat by January 7."

Applicants also complained about the soaring fees imposed by medical clinics due to the digital services.

Mark Alvarez claimed that one establishment doubled its usual fee of P200 to P400. "'Yun 400 na 'yon puwede mo na maiuwi sa pagkain sa mga bata," he said.

On this, Guadiz said: "Wala po kaming nilalagay na amount kung magkano ang dapat singilin ng medical clinics. We leave it to their discretion kung magkano ang dapat nilang isingil."

LTO has apologized for the inconvenience and announced that penalties for licenses that will expire due to this delay will not be collected.

"As a new project, there were system glitches reported and although we trained the doctors on the use of biometric examination and uploading of results in LTO system, still there were delays experienced, as expected of any new system," the agency's statement read.

However, Guadiz said, the LTO expects 100-percent compliance among accredited medical clinics by Thursday. Once the system is in place, he said, the processing time of LTO driver's license renewal should be shortened by 10 to 15 minutes. — with Margaret Claire Layug/BM, GMA News