Ahead lies a bumpy, pothole-infested road for the next daring soul to take the helm as Land Transportation Office chief, once Arturo M. Tugade’s successor is tapped.
After a six-month stint, Tugade abruptly filed his resignation from the office, which took effect on June 1.
His swift exit was brought about by “differing methods” with the Department of Transportation.
The LTO and the DOTr, he stated, “both aim to succeed in serving the public, but our methods to achieve that success differ.”
However, a closer look at the circumstances hounding the LTO — and in particular the issue of the plastic card shortage for driver’s ;licenses — more or less turns Tugade’s statement into pretext for the unsavory situation that merely fell into his lap.
Dilemma in between bids
Last week, the bidding for the DOTr’s procurement of 5.2 million of these cards ended in a showdown between two contractors, and a dilemma for the DOTr that we should all look out for.
One of these firms, Allcard Inc. (ACI), is a painfully familiar name for anyone who followed up on what’s taking our national IDs too long.
To refresh your memory, the snafu at one point laughably devolved into an official suggestion for citizens to print the ID themselves.
Meanwhile, bidder number two is Banner, Inc., that entered the bidding with P42 per card, an almost absurd offer considering ACI’s P33.88 price apiece.
With 5.2 million cards as the primary deliverable, that difference adds up proportionally.
But, according to one source, that may not matter after all as Banner allegedly, according to rumor, has all the backroom connections it needs for a shot at the hundred-million peso government contract.
Between a rock and a hard place
Santa Banana! It’s a classic “between a rock and a hard place” scenario. A true lose-lose situation.
Tugade apparently got wind of this underhanded maneuver, and his refusal to be a part of the ploy earned him the ire of a dominant force in the DOTr —whom our source hinted as a retired high-ranking military official who allegedly invested on the pricier bidder.
Whoever it is, they evidently have enough influence to unseat a Cabinet assistant secretary.
And the incoming replacement must be ready to sit at the frontlines of potential public scrutiny. My gulay! Will the replacement be brave enough to not cower to powers in the shadow?
While we await the next development on the bid, we pray as well for an intervention in this conundrum: are we about to shell out millions more of taxpayers money, or should millions more motorists expect their new licenses printed on a piece of paper?
That is the hundred-million peso question, my gulay!
New license plates
With the appointment of an LTO officer-in-charge, it is my fervent wish, together with many others, that the LTO may pretty soon issue me my new car plate.
It has been six years that my car has been sporting that old green plate — three years during pre-pandemic and three years during pandemic.
Every time I have my car registered, I feel cheated because the LTO does not issue me new license plates.
I have asked around, and the Philippines is about the only country that does not issue enough car plates when people register their vehicles.
What I cannot understand is that while the LTO had issued new car plates to some, I still have not been given my new car plates.
There had been many LTO managers, together with new Department of Transportation secretaries, but, Santa Banana, I still have to see my new car plates!
In my previous column, I commended the leadership of Speaker Martin Romualdez for pushing the enactment of the legislative agenda of President Marcos.
My gulay, it is not yet one year since the cousin of the President assumed the speakership, and out of 412 house bills filed, the legislative agenda, particularly the much debated Maharlika Investment Fund, has already been enacted into law by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The House had earlier enacted the MIF, and now the House again adopted the Senate version in the final reading.
Much earlier, Romualdez inked an alliance with the country’s major political parties ensuring the “UNITEAM,” Santa Banana, in the House!
Stalwarts of several political parties under the “supermajority” coalition of the Marcos administration have officially formalized and further solidified their alliance in the House amid rumors of another plot.
My gulay, I said it that that photo of the Speaker making “mano” and kissing the hand of former President and former Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, spoke more than a thousand words, dispelling everything about a coup plot, in addition to the firm denial of GMA herself of a coup plot after her “demotion” from senior deputy speaker to a mere deputy speaker.
So, my gulay, everything is well as it ends well, with the Speaker getting the firm assurance his term will last until 2028.