The Land Transportation Office on Wednesday warned accredited doctors and other medical clinics to stop their no-show attitude or face suspension or worse, permanent closure.
Meanwhile, the LTO said that it will heighten its policy against drunken driving to prevent road accidents this holiday season.
LTO chief Assistant Secretary Jose Arturo Tugade issued the warning amid reports that certain medical clinics and doctors were issuing medical certificates to driver’s license applicants without any actual physical examination.
“My marching orders to all regional and district offices nationwide was to weed out corruption not only in LTO offices themselves, but also those in accredited partners like medical clinics, whose services are part of the process for securing driver’s licenses or motor vehicle registration,” he said.
A medical certificate is a pre requisite in securing driver’s license to determine if the applicant is fit to operate a motor vehicle, Tugade stressed.
“We continue to remind the public that a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle is not a right but a privilege granted by the government. No one should circumvent the process in the issuance of a driver’s license, and the job of the LTO is to make sure that it is issued only to qualified drivers as part of promoting road safety,” he said.
The LTO chief cited the case of a medical clinic in Bacolod City, which was slapped with a 60-day suspension by the LTO Region 6 for reportedly issuing too many medical certificates in a single day.
Apart from closure, the medical clinic was also excluded from the LTO information technology system.
The closure order was given after the Regional Assessment and Compliance Monitoring Team, headed by Region 6 assistant regional director Gaudioso Geduspan II reported that the clinic issued as many as 186 medical certificates in just one day.
Prior to the closure, a show- cause order was issued against the medical clinic to explain why it issued so many medical certificates, which was perceived to be “statistically improbable.”
The clinic’s management, through its legal counsel, explained that it usually experienced a large volume of clients daily, most of whom lined up as early as 6.30 a.m.
To confirm whether the clinic’s claim was true or not, an RACMT member went to the clinic last week and posed as a client and tried to secure a medical certificate.
The spy saw that there were only a few people at the clinic and was surprised at how fast the certificate was issued, complete with the stamped name and signature of the accredited doctor even without a physical examination, which is in violation of LTO Memorandum Circular 2018-2157.
In a “24 Oras” news report on Tuesday, the LTO Law Enforcement Service (LTO-LES) said it would strictly implement RA 10856 or the Anti-Drug Driving Act.
Records showed that the LTO responded to 546 road accidents from January to October this year—nearly eight times the 73 road accidents recorded in January to December 2021.
Of this number, 489 drivers tested positive for alcoholic intoxication, compared to 68 in 2021.
“You can link that to speeding. Kasi usually kapag nakainom… less control sa motors sa katawan niya. So ang tendency talaga is to be involved in road crash incident. ‘Yung reflex niya nababawasan,” said LTO Law Enforcement and Adjudication Service Deputy Director Roberto Valera.
LTO enforcers and authorized personnel of the Philippine National Police and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority can apprehend drunk drivers.
Those apprehended would be put through field sobriety tests such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, taking nine steps forward and backwards in a straight line, and doing a one-leg stand for 30 seconds.
If a driver fails at least one of the three tests, an alcohol breath analyzer will be used.