Back in October 2018, upon a chance interview with the Land Transportation Office Executive Director, Atty. Romeo Vera Cruz, he revealed that a holder of a driver’s license may, in fact, be granted an extension of their driver's license (DL) validity for up to 10 years, as stated under the Republic Act 10930.
However, during an opening of an LTO Driver's License Renewal Center inside a mall along Session Road in Baguio City last week, LTO Chief Assistant Secretary, Edgar Galvante, told reporters that although the new law allows for the 10-year validity of the DL, it does not mean that it is automatically granted to all license holders. Demerits can cause its revocation, suspension, or even revert its validity back to 5 years or less.
“From the one-year validity of the license, we made it three years. Now, we made it five and so it would be 10 [years] so that you don’t have to come back every five years but rather, 10. You have to come back only once every 10 years for you to renew your license but that is if you are not delinquent, meaning you do not have violations,” Chief Galvante told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The implementation of the standard 5-year license and the potential 10-year license is inline with President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to rid the unnecessary red tape in government services. He signed into law Republic Act 10930 on August 2017, otherwise known as "An act rationalizing and strengthening the policy regarding driver's license by extending the validity period of driver's licenses, and penalizing acts in violation of its issuance and application." For those purposes, Section 23 of Republic Act No. 4136 was amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 398 and Executive Order No. 1011, otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
Section 23 of Republic Act 4136, which was signed into law in 1964 by President Diosdado Macapagal, is amended by the provisions of Republic Act 10930 which states that:
"Except for student permits, all drivers' licenses shall be valid for five (5) years reckoned from the birthdate of the licensee, unless sooner revoked or suspended: Provided, however, that subject to Section 26 hereof, any holder of a professional or non-professional driver's license who has not committed any violation of Republic Act No. 4136 and other traffic laws, rules and regulations during the five (5)-year period shall be entitled to a renewal of such license for ten (10) years, subject to the restrictions as may be imposed by the LTO."
If you're a law-abiding driver or rider and were granted a DL with 10-year validity by the LTO, all the more you should be careful NOT to break any traffic laws. It is not a free pass to break any road rules. As what Chief Galvante said, the LTO can invalidate that privilege anytime if the driver incurs any demerits or is suspended or barred from driving a motor vehicle during the suspension period.
The LTO has yet to explain how this 10-year driver's license can be availed of, or if the reward system is already in place. We will update you as soon as we receive word.