Senator Grace Poe, presiding chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, pressed concerned authorities to promptly resolve the reported “shortage” of drivers’ plastic license cards.
Lamenting that the problem could have been avoided, the senator stressed that it should have been nipped in the bud “before it could create another gargantuan backlog” for the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to handle.
Poe pointed out that “issuing a license printed on paper is prone to wear and tear, tampering and could compromise the security of the holder.”
She added: “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.”
Poe recalled that way back in 2017, “We pushed for the passage of the law extending the validity of driver’s license to five or 10 years to incentivize our drivers, cut red tape and give them an identification card they can conveniently use for official transactions.”
She lamented that “the inconvenience hounding our motorists due to the unavailability of the license cards defeats the purpose of the law.”
The senator reminded, “We expect the timely intervention of the Department of Transportation to end this shortage issue.”
In a news conference Thursday, LTO Chief Jay Art Tugade admitted that there is a shortage of license cards in the country, noting that “as of today [Thursday], we have LTO offices that have ran out of drivers license.”
As such, Tugade said the agency is allowing drivers to use their official receipts as “temporary driver’s license” in lieu of the physical cards.
He reminded that the official receipts should have complete details, a unique QR code, and a “screenshot of the license card’s front and back portions.”
Moreover, Tugade also ordered the reallocation of the supply of plastic cards in LTO offices.
According to data from the LTO, about 147,522 plastic cards are left for printing, which “might only be enough until the end of this month.”
As the LTO admitted on Thursday that there is a shortage of drivers license cards in the country, DOTr is stepping in to seek approval of its initiative to purchase part of the total volume of the license cards needed by its attached agency.
“The DOTr is communicating with the Government Procurement Policy Board-Technical Support Office—under the Department of Budget and Management—to expedite the purchase of the license cards, after LTO’s failure to undertake early procurement activities in compliance with existing rules,” the transport department said.
The LTO submitted to the DOTr the terms of reference (TOR) for the license card procurement in late March. It held a pre-bid conference earlier this month.
However, the DOTr “decided to assess the TOR to determine a more efficient, effective and economic option at procuring the license cards.”
“DOTr hopes to procure enough license cards before supply runs out and while the TOR is being remedied so the bidding for supply of license cards can proceed,” the agency said.