Questions raised over LTO’s penalty vs drivers claiming plastic cards outside sched

April 17, 2024 - 4:31 PM
Drivers license cards
Driver's license cards (The STAR/File Photo)

Questions about penalties were raised after the Land Transportation Office announced that drivers can now claim their license cards in different branches after a massive backlog caused paper-printed licenses to be given instead.

The office have started the nationwide distribution of plastic driver’s license cards on Tuesday, April 16.

LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II said that the number of cards is “enough to cover the backlog from last year and cover the 2024 requirements.”

According to him, they are expecting millions of plastic cards which he said are enough to accommodate those who have been issued temporary paper licenses during their renewal as far back as April 2023.

The LTO has released a schedule of renewal and their corresponding claiming period of the plastic licenses without penalty on the following dates:

It said that licenses that expired from April 1 to Aug. 31, 2023 and those that will expire from April 1 to 30, 2024 have a renewal or license claiming period of April 15 to 30, 2024.

Those that had their licenses expired from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023 and those that will expire from May 1 to 31, 2024 have a renewal or license claiming period of May 1 to 31, 2024.

Meanwhile, licenses that expired from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2024 and will expire from June 1 to 30, 2024 have a renewal or license claiming period of June 1 to 30, 2024.

A copy of the schedule was also posted by GMA journalist Joseph Morong on social media.

Mendoza said that drivers must follow their renewal schedules based on the expiry date of their license.

Those who fail to claim their plastic licenses on the given dates will be penalized.

This means that if a person scheduled to renew their driver’s license in June 2024 fails to do so on that month, they will be subjected to paying fines if they renew on other dates instead.

The policy failed to amuse some Filipinos who thought it too much that the office had to sanction those who fail to follow their renewal and claiming period schedule.

“Five months worth of backlog, pero two weeks window to claim, tapos may penalty ‘pag hindi na-claim? Iba rin ang level ng kakapalan,” an online user commented.

“Bakit may penalty after ‘yung claiming period sa mamamayan pero walang penalty sa kanila na hindi nag-provide agad ng card DL? Kapal talaga ng mukha ng gobyerno natin. Tapos puro cash payment pa ‘yan. Masyado naman pahalata,” another user wrote.

“Na-penalize na ba ang LTO for their fiasco? Ngayon, kapag hindi mo agad nakuha lisensiya mo na KASALANAN NG LTO, ikaw pa ma-penalize? NAPAKA-INUTIL NINYONG P**ANG *NA NINYO,” a different user said.

“So may penalty kapag ‘di na-claim within the prescribed period? LOL. Kayo ba pinag-penalty namin nung papel ang binigay niyo sa amin dahil sa incompetency niyo? Mga t**gi*anyo talaga diyan sa gobyerno,” commented another Filipino.

The LTO chief said they had scheduled the release of the plastic license cards to avoid crowding and long lines in LTO offices.

“Babalik lang sila sa district office kung saan nila nakuha ‘yung papel na ‘yun at papalitan ng card,” Mendoza said in a radio interview before.

He added that the scheduled release will “ensure orderly distribution,” as well as prevent people from going to the LTO branches at the same time.

The LTO has late renewal fees for drivers who fail to renew their licenses on time.

For non-professional license holders, a late renewal fee of P75 is applicable to those whose licenses are one day to one year expired already.

To non-professional license holders who have more than one year to two years expired licenses, they are subjected to pay a late renewal fee of P150.

The same fees apply to professional license holders.

Reports said at least one million plastic cards were delivered to the LTO central office last March after the Court of Appeals lifted a writ of preliminary injunction issued by a Quezon City court last year.

The injunction order halted the delivery of 3.2 million remaining plastic cards and resulted in the backlog of plastic-printed driver’s licenses, which will reach 4.1 million by the end of the month.

The injunction stemmed from a case filed by losing bidder Allcards Inc. in the procurement of around 5.2 million plastic cards last year.

The winning bidder, Banner Plastic Card Inc., had delivered nearly two million plastic cards to the LTO when a Quezon City court issued the injunction.