A source inside the DOTr revealed LTO’s lapses in procuring DL card supplier

Earlier in March, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) issued a memo suspending yet again the production/stamping of motor vehicle (MV) as well as motorcycle (MC) plates.

The memo which was dated March 13, 2023, says that “In view of the depleting stock of license plates pending the procurement of which by the Department of Transportation as of this date, all production license plates except for vintage/electric/hybrid vehicles is hereby suspended until further notice.”

Insider: LTO “forgot” to procure new license cards image

By April 20, the LTO chief himself, Atty. Jayart Tugade announced during a press conference that the agency’s remaining stocks of plastic cards will be completely out by the end of the month. The agency also presented to the public the “new” paper temporary driver’s license.

This news from the LTO didn’t go well with the motoring public, as well as Senator Grace Poe. “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," said Poe.

(The driver’s license is one of the government-issued IDs that is commonly used in different transactions. It is tax payer’s money that was paid for that. Let’s provide them with a respectable driver’s license, not the one printed on paper).

Insider: LTO “forgot” to procure new license cards image

The shortage in the supply of plastic cards, however, could have been prevented had the LTO initiated the early procurement process, according to a source inside the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

In a report that was forwarded to MotoPinas.com by the DOTr source, the LTO had time from August up to December of 2022, or a 4-month early procurement window to look for a supplier of plastic cards, as allowed by the Fiscal Year 2023 General Appropriations Act. The LTO, as per DOTr records, had no active procurement of license cards as of January 2023.

Had the LTO followed the process, the earliest delivery of pre-printed plastic cards for driver’s licenses could have been April 20, 2023, and we should have had a steady supply of driver’s license cards.


Insider: LTO “forgot” to procure new license cards image

“The shortage in driver's license plastic cards should be nipped in the bud before it could create another gargantuan backlog for the Land Transportation Office. Issuing a license printed on paper is prone to wear and tear, tampering and could compromise the security of the holder,” said Sen. Poe.

The DOTr also maintains that they have exerted all efforts to remind the LTO in writing to submit all the necessary documents so that a plastic card shortage could be avoided. The LTO, on the other hand, only submitted these documents last month. It is worth noting that the LTO had a sudden changing of leadership in November 2022, when Teofilo Guadiz III was suddenly replaced as LTO Chief by Jay Art Tugade after only four months on the job.

Let's just hope that our government officials could help each other resolve this crisis because, at the end of the day, it is the Filipino people that suffer the consequences of the lapses of some of these government agencies.