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LTO suspends new driver’s license requirement

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 06:43 PM November 24, 2015

UPON the prodding of senators , the Land Transportation   Office (LTO) is temporarily suspending its policy, requiring  applicants for a professional driver to get a clearance from the police and the  National Bureau of Investigation.

The decision to temporarily suspend the policy was made after Senate President Franklin  Drilon and Senate  Pro Tempore Ralph Recto questioned its implementation  during  plenary deliberations on the proposed  budget of the Department  of   Transportation  and  Communications  (DOTC).

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It was Recto who first   suggested  the suspension of the  new requirement, saying  it was just an  added  burden  to the people.

“In the meantime, why  don’t we suspend it…? Delayed na yung license plate, delayed na yung driver’s license, pahihirapan na naman natin yung ordinaryong nagmamaneho, naghahanapbuhay,”  he said.

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Drilon joined  Recto’s  call to suspend  the policy when  he  was not satisfied by the DOTC’s answers through Senator Loren Legarda  as chair of the Senate  finance committee when  asked  what cases  in the  police or  the NBI  would warrant the  disqualification of an applicant from  getting a professional driver’s license.

“It’s a question of what kind of those information  in these clearances that would disqualify one from  being issued a driver’s license. Will any kind of a pending case which appears  in the NBI list  disqualifies one from having  license?  Ano  ho bang yung mga krimen o mga kaso na dahilan  sa pendency  na hindi na magkakaroon ng professional license?” asked the Senate leader.

“They said it’s crime against persons and  property and moral certitude,” Legarda said.

When Drilon asked  if a crime of rape could also disqualify an applicant  for a driver’s  license when the crime is not against property,  Legarda  pointed out that it would fall under the crime against persons and property.

“You know, apparently your  LTO people, Madam chair, cannot also give us direct answer. Now, I join Senator Recto’s proposition that why don’t  you  suspend this  and review it again  because you’re affecting the very  small people that are trying to  earn a livelihood and unfairly affected by such  arbitrary decision  of the bureaucrats,” he said.

Drilon also pointed out that the pendency  of criminal proceedings should not also automatically  disqualify  an applicant “because there’s a presumption of innocence.”

“Mahirap naman yung nasampahan ka ng kaso e hindi ka na pwedneg maghanap buhay bilang isang  driver,” he said.

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The Senate leader  then  pressed  for the  temporary  suspension of the policy.

“May I join the call of Senator Recto that we first suspend this while we study,  we don’t  lose anything…” he further said.

Legarda said the DOTC has no choice  but to listen to the suggestion of the two senators “because  their  budget  will be suspended if this is not suspended.”

But Drilon said: “No we’re not doing this out of whim.”

Legarda eventually said  yes, quoting  DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya , who was present at the  plenary.

“Yes according to Secretary Abaya. The LTO  policy  of having both licenses as a requirement  will be suspended for the meantime until  such  study and coordination would be done with the police and the NBI for a more efficient coordination  regarding this and they will  come up with guidelines on what pending crimes will be included,”  she said.

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