Whoever coined the hashtag #WalangForever (“There’s no forever.”) probably hasn’t tried to get any sort of permit or official certificate from any Philippine government agency.
If you tried to apply for or renew your driver’s license, for instance, then you’ll get a real understanding of the word “forever.” To illustrate, around June of last year, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) reported a backlog in the delivery of about 500,000 to 600,000 driver’s license cards. This was allegedly due to the lack of a proper contract between the LTO and their previous supplier, Amalgamated Motors Philippines, thus preventing any further transactions. The delay took so long that if you were one of the unlucky ones who applied for a 3-year license prior, you’d probably get your card after three years too. Bummer.
Just last week, however, the same government office declared that they had promptly dealt with the backlog and that all driver’s license applicants – both new drivers and existing ones – will be issued their cards on the same day that they apply.
The new license cards are said to be laser-engraved sheets of polycarbonate material, which allegedly makes them more durable than their thermally-printed PVC predecessors.
However, there’s a catch. This new policy is currently being implemented only in LTO’s offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) for now, so provincial applicants may not be able to get their new driver’s licenses within the same timeline. Some applicants who filed for renewal at LTO Gapan Nueva Ecija, for instance, took to social media to protest that the officials at the said government office were unable to give them a definite answer as to when the cards would arrive.
Furthermore, the new policy for same-day release of driver’s licenses apparently applies only to those with three-year expiry periods. Those five-year licenses that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced this year? Nope, they don’t seem to be included under the new policy, so you may have to wait a while before you receive those.
Still, the situation seems promising. On the day of the announcement, DOTr Head Arthur Tugade tried out the new system for himself at the LTO Main Office along East Avenue, Quezon City. He filled out the form, which was then processed by an LTO employee at a designated window. Tugade then got his license card just ten minutes later, at least according to the official report.
LTO Chief Edgar Galvante also added that motorists who applied for their licenses in October are due to receive theirs this week, as of this writing. In addition, the public is urged to avoid fixers since the processing fee for both the five-year and three-year licenses are the same.
Here’s hoping the processing time for both licenses are the same too, eh?