‘Talagang tinapat’: Reactions to timing of driver’s license card release before SONA 2023

July 19, 2023 - 2:00 PM
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Driver's license appearance
A rendition of a driver's license (Land Transportation Office/Released)

Some Filipinos online cast doubt over the timing of the release of thousands of the much-awaited driver’s license cards.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Monday, July 17 announced that at least 5,000 driver’s license (DL) cards will be released before July 24, the date of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. this year.

LTO Assistant Secretary Hector Villacorta, also the officer-in-charge, said they expect card provider Banner Plasticard, Inc. to produce 15,000 to 30,000 cards daily within ten days as part of the latter’s commitment to deliver one million cards in the next 60 days.

“Just maybe 5,000 copies,” he said in a media briefing.

“The paper will surely be out of date because the production of license cards will start with 15,000 to 30,000 plastic cards a day within 10 days and the promise is within 60 days, they can make one million plastic cards so the issue of lack of supply for plastic cards will be history,” Villacorta added.

The first batch of license cards will be distributed to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and new driver’s license applicants.

“Actually, ang nauuna is OFWs and student driver’s permit that [matured] into non-professional or professional license,” the LTO OIC said.

Driver’s license holders can also access electronic copies of their licenses by enrolling through the Land Transport Management System (LTMS) portal. The digital copy is considered a valid license.

“Puwede rin ipakita ‘yung e-license so we would have a memo to all enforcers that that should be accepted,” Villacorta said.

He also said that the launch of the LTMS portal was early since the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) takes 15 days to take effect.

“We just want to assure the public that things are getting back to normal and we have an additional form that is available, the virtual ID,” he said.

Last June, the LTO reported a backlog of about 690,000 DL cards, with many offices temporarily issuing paper licenses to drivers instead of cards.

RELATED: From lamination to framing: How some Pinoys are keeping their paper licenses safe

Meanwhile, some Filipinos noticed that the timing of the release of some driver’s license cards will come days before Marcos’ second SONA.

“Kailangan pala may SONA linggo-linggo para makapag-release,” a Facebook user quipped in response to the development.

“Talagang itinapat pa sa okasyon. Parang napakalaking accomplishment. Trabaho [niyo] mag-issue ng tamang lisensya. Bayad ‘yan,” another Facebook user commented.

“Window dressing for SONA and still mediocre,” a Pinoy on Twitter wrote with a facepalm emoji.

“Hahaha hinahabol para sa SONA,” another Twitter user commented.

Marcos is set to deliver his second SONA wherein he will report the state of the country and the government’s agenda for the coming year.

During SONA, the president may also propose legislative measures to Congress.

Marcos previously said his second SONA will highlight “significant progress” by his administration in terms of how the government works and how the country is seen in the international community.

More physical cards 

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said that motorists who were issued paper licenses may get their physical cards by August or September this year.

He added that about 130,000 pending DL cards are expected to be issued by September when the shortage is expected to “normalize.”

“Yung license natin, we’re expecting delivery by next week. Initially, pakonti-konti lang ‘yan. By September, na-deliver na lahat ‘yung pending natin na dapat iisyu,” Bautista said on Tuesday, July 18.

He added that motorists who have yet to receive their physical license cards can access their digital DL through the LTMS portal.

The DOTr chief said this could be used as an alternative identification card, adding that they must also have a physical copy.