Plastic card shortage to hit 5.2 million motorists
Around 5.2 million driver’s license holders will be issued a temporary permit printed on paper instead of on a plastic card, as the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has reported a shortage problem.
At a press briefing on Thursday, LTO chief Assistant Secretary Jose Arturo Tugade said that the agency would be running out of plastic cards by the last week of the month as it only had 147,000 pieces in its inventory.
Those applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses will also be affected. The 5.2 million refers to the LTO’s backlog in the issuance of plastic card licenses.
“For those who will renew [their license] in offices where there are no more plastic cards, they will be provided with a printout of the official receipt of their driver’s license. At the back of that is the driver’s license that should have been printed on the plastic card,” he said.
The temporary driver’s license will contain a unique QR code, which will allow law enforcers to authenticate and validate it. Motorists can take a picture of the document using their cell phone and present it whenever apprehended, Tugade said.
As early as Nov. 15, 2022, the LTO projected a shortfall in its inventory of plastic cards, prompting Tugade to form committees to procure the material.
However, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued in January a special order mandating the LTO to defer procurement deals worth P50 million and above to the DOTr central office.
“Had we been able to continue with our procurement activities, we would have sufficient plastic cards right now,” Tugade said.
Acting on an appeal from the LTO, the DOTr said in a meeting on March 21 that it would finish the procurement process in 28 days.