MAKE sure the relevant agencies get the memo.
This was stressed by a Bicolano lawmaker who urged the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to ensure that the appropriate government agencies are informed about the automatic extension of the validity of expired driver’s licenses that were affected by the shortage of plastic cards due to an ongoing court case.
The LTO should make every effort to coordinate with the agencies involved in enforcing traffic regulations, like the MMDA, so that they do not penalize the drivers covered by the automatic extension,” AGRI Rep. Wilbert T. Lee.
Lee pointed out that “there are instances in the past when poor coordination has resulted in confusion in the field; this can be avoided if this directive is better communicated to the different agencies and the public.”
According to the legislator, there is already some confusion regarding the process involved in the extension, with some reports giving the impression that drivers still need to go to the LTO to have the validity of their licenses extended.
The solon reminded the public that drivers covered by the automatic extension no longer need to go to the LTO.
“Dahil automatic ito, yung mga drivers na may expiring na lisensya, hindi na nila kailangan pang pumunta sa LTO para ma-extend ang validity nito. Old or expired licenses should remain valid until lumabas itong mga bagong plastic cards. Hindi masasayang ang oras ng driver, hindi rin masasayang ang oras ng mga taga-LTO, dito winner tayo lahat,” explained Lee.
In a memorandum, the LTO declared that the validity of these licenses will be extended to April 2, 2024, or until it obtains an adequate supply of plastic cards.
During the House budget briefing of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Lee reiterated to LTO officials the need to automatically extend the validity of driver’s licenses.
The Bicolano lawmaker was the first legislator to propose the automatic extension of driver’s licenses so that the public would not be inconvenienced by the LTO’s inability to procure plastic cards due to a TRO.
“Natutuwa po tayo na nagbunga ang pangangalampag natin sa LTO—mula sa inihain nating House Resolution (HR) No. 1203 hanggang nitong nakaraang budget hearing—para maipatupad ang one year extension sa validity ng driver’s license. Tulad ng nauna nating panawagan, makakatipid dito ang gobyerno dahil hindi na kailangan pang magprint ng temporary license. Lagi dapat nating isaalang-alang na hindi unli ang pondo ng gobyerno. Ang pera ng gobyerno, pera ng taumbayan,” stressed Lee.
“Hinihikayat ko rin ang LTO na itaguyod ang mga permanenteng solusyon para maiwasan ang mga backlog at delay na sobrang nakakaperhuwisyo sa ating mga kababayan. Kaya nga isa sa mga itinutulak natin ang paggamit ng digital license kung saan makakatipid din ang taumbayan at mas mapapabilis ang serbisyo ng gobyerno. Maghahain po tayo ng panukalang batas ukol dito.”
As early as Aug. 16, Lee filed HR No. 1203 urging the DOTr-LTO to automatically extend the validity of driver’s licenses of those affected by ongoing litigation.
LTO head Vigor Mendoza II announced on Friday that the automatic extension covered licenses that expired on April 3, 2023, as this was when the shortage of the plastic cards used in driver’s licenses started.