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Senate Committee tackles problems hounding LTO

June 8, 2023 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 250 views

SEN. Francis “Tolentino presided over the Blue Ribbon Committee’s public hearing, Thursday, June 8 2023, tackling Senate Resolution No. (SRN) 147 concerning the alleged undue payments given by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to the joint venture of Dermalog Identification System, Holy Family Printing Corporation, Microgenesis, and Verzontal Builders.

The Committee also tackled SRN 348, on the alleged corruption involving the road transportation IT infrastructure project of LTO.

Tolentino, in his opening statement, enumerated several problems that he wanted to resolve involving the LTO projects.

“Why have we fully paid a project that is only 80 percent complete? Why do our drivers continue to experience difficulty in obtaining a license until now?” Tolentino asked.

He also inquired regarding the IT roadmap (worth P8 billion project) as well as the interconnectivity that has been planned for a long time, which remains far short of targets.

Tolentino said that his committee will dig into the facts, not necessarily to ascribe wrongdoing, but to come out with a committee report which would entail the production of remedial legislation as well as the possible filing of cases to the appropriate government agencies.

Sen. Grace Poe raised this question of the plastic shortage for driver’s licences as she grilled officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) during the hearing.

Poe scrutinized the timeline of the procurement of the plastic drivers’ license cards to determine who among the officials of the DOTr and the LTO “dropped the ball” and caused the whole problem.

She also wondered why it took three months for the LTO officials to study the procurement of the plastic drivers’ license cards when those are recurring order.

“So now, is there a shortage of drivers’ licenses and what can we expect?” the chairperson of the Committee on Public Services asked.

In response, DOTr Sec. Jaime Bautista admitted that there’s a shortage of drivers’ licenses, saying there are only 70,000 identification cards available nationwide and the backlog had already reached 690,000.

“What the LTO did was to extend the validity of the licenses that became due starting April 24,” Bautista said.

Poe maintained it is important for the government to take this matter seriously and address the problem accordingly.