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DOTr: Driver's license cards available by July ‘the earliest’

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said that driver’s license cards would be available for delivery by July if the procurement process goes as planned.

At a virtual press briefing, DOTr Undersecretary for Administration and Finance Kim de Leon said that the latest opening of bids for the supply of license cards would be on May 24, 2023.

If the winning bidder will comply with the terms of reference of the bidding process, a notice of award and notice to proceed will be issued, according to the DOTr official.

“If under the competitive bidding, the earliest we can have the first delivery will be July,” De Leon said.

On Thursday, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) said there was a shortage of plastic cards used for printing driver’s licenses as it plans to issue temporary ones on paper.

According to LTO chief Jay Art Tugade, the agency asked to procure an additional five million cards, amounting to P249 million, in December last year.

In January 2023, however, the DOTr issued a special order stating that it would be in charge of the bidding for contracts whose amounts were higher than P50 million. The LTO appealed the matter, but the DOTr turned it down.

"The procurement of the licenses, na-transfer sa DOTr. Had we been able to continue with our procurement activities, we would have sufficient plastic cards right now," Tugade said.

But, de Leon said the LTO has six months of opportunity to procure license cards.

“They have the opportunity as early as September to procure the license plates and the special order definitely is not the cause of delay,” the DOTr official said.

De Leon also said the terms of reference for bidding submitted by the LTO gained various “reactions” from prospective bidders.

Moving forward, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the DOTr is in discussion with the Government Procurement Policy Board-Technical Support Office, an attached agency under the Department of Budget and Management, “on how we can fast-track the procurement.”

The LTO is yet to issue a reaction to inquiries sent by reporters through a Viber group.

Data from the LTO showed there are only 147,522 plastic cards left for printing, which might only last until the end of this month. —NB, GMA Integrated News