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Shortage of DL plastic cards alarms Poe

April 21, 2023 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 334 views

DOTr addressing procurement

THE shortage in driver’s license (DL) plastic cards should be nipped in the bud before it could create another “gargantuan” backlog for the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Thus was said by Senator Grace Poe, Friday, April 21, 2023 as she further said that issuing a license printed on paper is prone to “wear and tear” and tampering and could compromise the security of the holder.

“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 lisensiya, hindi lang kapirasong papel,” Poe was quoted as saying.

Poe said this matter should be taken seriously by the government, insisting that this will create more problems if “ignored” by the proper authorities.

“In 2017, we pushed for the passage of the law extending the validity of driver’s license to five or ten years to incentivize our drivers, cut red tape, and give them an identification card they can conveniently use for official transactions,” she said.

“The inconvenience hounding our motorists due to the unavailability of the license cards defeats the purpose of the law. We expect the timely intervention of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to end this shortage issue,” Poe added.

Earlier, LTO said they will be issuing temporary driver’s licenses printed on paper amid a shortage of plastic cards, as announced by LTO Chief Jose Art Tugade.

Tugade said LTO offices nationwide are left with an inventory of 147,000 plastic driver’s license cards, which are expected to last before the end of the month, which he further explained was the only thing left when he took over last November 2022.

He said the LTO would issue a printout of the official receipt (OR), which can be used as a temporary driver’s license with a unique QR code at the back of the paper license.

It was also reported that LTO has allocated funding of P240 million for the plastic cards of 5.2 million driver’s license holders, but the bidding, which the DOTr will handle, must materialize first as part of the process and proper procedure.

The shortage of driver’s licenses is expected to persist until the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) stated that they are currently addressing the issue to allow the purchase of part of the total volume of license cards needed by LTO.

The transportation department said the Terms of Reference (TOR) submitted by LTO in late March 2023 to the DOTr Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is “being evaluated.”

DOTr also said that it is communicating with the Government Procurement Policy Board-Technical Support Office (under the Department of Budget and Management or DBM) to expedite the purchase of the license cards after LTO’s “failure” to undertake early procurement activities in compliance with existing rules.

After a pre-bidding conference last April 12, 2023, attended by several market players, the DOTr BAC decided to assess the TOR to determine a more efficient, effective, and economical option for procuring license cards.

DOTr said it hopes to procure enough license cards before the supply runs out and while the TOR is being remedied so the bidding for the supply of license cards can proceed. By PS JUN M. SARMIENTO & JUN I. LEGASPI