LTO urged to cancel contract with strife-torn Stradcom Corp.
MANILA, Philippines — The government should take over the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) electronic database and cancel its contract with controversial technology firm Stradcom Corp., the militant transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operaytor Nationwide (Piston, Unified Organization of Drivers and Transport Operators Nationwide) said.
In a statement on Thursday, the group said Stradcom has had a history of inefficient and unreliable service, and anomalous deals with the government since it started its operations a decade ago.
“We recommend that the government terminate its contract with Stradcom, and that the state take over the LTO’s information technology (IT) systems,” Piston secretary general George San Mateo said.
The group’s calls follows reports that several controversies involving Stradcom—particularly its intra-corporate dispute between shareholders—may lead to the shutdown of the company’s services.
A shutdown at Stradcom, which operates the LTO’s database of license holders and registered vehicles, would paralyze LTO services across the country.
“It would be wrong for the LTO to go back to manual operations. But this does not mean that Stradcom should still be the company operating the LTO’s computer systems, especially because of the factional conflicts and internal squabbles that could prove detrimental the public,” San Mateo said.
Piston said a government takeover of LTO systems would lead to a significant drop in “interconnection fees” that Stradcom collects.
Despite these fees, which Piston considers to be exorbitant, the group said Stradcom’s services have remained prone to frequent shutdowns.
“If the government takes over Stradcom, it is possible that these interconnection fees would go down, or be completely eliminated. It is the government’s responsibility to provide these services to the public,” San Mateo said.
Piston also criticized Stradcom for its involvement in anomalous deals in the past, particularly the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) project that the Supreme Court ordered cancelled.
The high tribunal has also ordered Stradcom to refund the fees paid by motorists, a total of about P32 million, which is still with the company.
Last December, a group controlled by businessman Bonifacio Submilla, who claimed to be the tech firm’s new chairman, attempted but failed to forcibly take over Stradcom’s operations.
LTO head Virginia Torres took a leave of absence last month after a Department of Justice report found that she mishandled the situation, leading to the paralysis of the agency’s nationwide operations for half a day.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.