LTO suspends new driver’s license requirement
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).
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.
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.
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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