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Poe warns another ‘gargantuan’ backlog in LTO amid driver’s license card shortage

Senate public services committee chairperson Grace Poe on Friday warned of another “gargantuan backlog” in the Land Transportation Office (LTO) amid the shortage of plastic cards for driver’s license.

In a statement, Poe urged the Department of Transportation to implement timely intervention to end the issue as she emphasized the need to nip the problem in the bud.

“Issuing a license printed on paper is prone to wear and tear, tampering, and could compromise the security of the holder,” Poe said.

“Isa ang driver’s license sa mga government-issued IDs na karaniwang ginagamit sa iba’t ibang transaksyon. Pera ng ating mga kababayan ang pinambayad d’yan. Bigyan naman natin sila ng tama at kagalang-galang na lisensya, hindi lang kapirasong papel,” she added.

(Driver’s license is one of the government-issued IDs usually used in different transactions. Our countrymen paid money for that license. We should give them the proper and decent license, not a piece of paper.)

To recall, LTO faced backlash after it failed to produce millions of license plates for registered vehicles in the country.

Poe mentioned the law that was passed in 2017 extending the validity of driver’s license to five to 10 years to incentivize drivers, cut red tape, and give them an identification card which they can use conveniently for official transactions.

“The inconvenience hounding our motorists due to the unavailability of the license cards defeats the purpose of the law,” said Poe.

On Thursday, LTO announced that it will print out drivers’ license on paper due to the shortage of plastic cards.

Some licensing offices like Pasay and Quezon City still have plastic cards but not enough for the thousands who will apply for new ones or renew their licenses in the months ahead.

According to LTO chief Jayart Tugade, there are only over 140,000 plastic cards nationwide. He said his office estimated the available cards will not be sufficient to meet the demand.  In December last year, the LTO asked to procure additional five million cards which will cost P249 million.

In January 2023, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) stated that it would be in charge of the bidding for contracts higher than P50 million. The LTO appealed the matter, but the DOTr turned it down.—Hana Bordey/AOL, GMA Integrated News