The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has incurred a backlog of some 690,000 driver’s licenses, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista disclosed during a Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is finalizing the procurement of at least 500,000 driver’s license cards by July to address the LTO’s problem.
At present, Bautista said the LTO has about 70,000 plastic cards for driver’s license, but these were reserved for overseas Filipino workers needing driver’s license for their jobs.
As a temporary measure, Bautista said the LTO had already extended the validity of licenses that expired starting April 24 until October 31.
“Ang ini-issue nila ngayon sa mga bagong driver na kumukuha ng driver’s license is initially an OR [official receipt],” he said.
In an earlier Senate hearing, LTO officer-in-charge Hector Villacorta said they see the backlogs on driver’s license cards resolved by the end of 2023 through an emergency purchase arrangement with National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
Last April, the LTO announced it would print out drivers’ licenses on paper due to the shortage of plastic cards.
Villacorta earlier said he plans to address the shortages on license cards and license plates for motorcycles under his watch in the agency.
“Right now, there’s an ongoing procurement. There is already the lowest bidder. We are just doing a post-qualification of the lowest calculated bid,” Bautista told the senators.
“If we will be able to finalize this, if we will qualify the lowest bidder, we should be able to get maybe 500,000 licenses in July.”
The inquiry was launched in response to Senate Resolution 147 filed by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, urging the panel to look into the alleged undue payment by the LTO to the joint venture of Dermalog Identification System, Holy Family Printing Corp., Microgenesis, and Verzontal Builders.
Senator Imee Marcos also filed Senate Resolution 348 directing the Blue Ribbon to investigate the alleged corruption involving certain infrastructure projects of the LTO.