300K LTO Driver’s License backlog reduced to 92K, agency will need funding for laser engravers

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The Land Transportation Office (LTO) recently released a list of offices and branches that cannot issue Driver’s License cards, or service licensing transactions. The cause: faulty laser engravers. A total of 36 satellites and field offices have been affected by the damaged machines and while it remains a problem, some good news is that from 300,000 pending license cards, the agency now has about 92,000 left to issue to motorists.

Driver’s License card backlog addressed, laser engravers still need repairs or replacement

Lto Driver's License Backlog Inline 01 Min

Photo: LTO

Problems like this are no new things to motorists and officials of the LTO alike. New head honcho Jay Art Tugade has been very active since taking his seat in the agency and they plan to reduce the Driver’s License backlog to zero; as of course, it should be. Tugade said that they are very much aware of the issue and how big a concern it is to motorists, and that the agency is “working double time to address this”.

“This significant reduction in backlogs is a testament to the LTO’s firm resolve to settle this problem using digital technology and, in the process, remove corruption and red tape. We are happy to report this development, but we will not stop because the ultimate objective is to reach zero backlog level.” Jose Arturo “Jay Art” Tugade, LTO Chief Assistant Secretary

Lto Drivers License Renewal Experience Inline 01

The main culprit for the backlog is the sorry state of the laser engravers being used to print Driver’s License cards. Just a few days ago, a total of 36 LTO branches temporarily cannot attend to any licensing printing or transactions because of the said machines.

Tugade later added, “Nais naming iparating sa tao na ‘yong mga opisina na defective ang engravers, huwag na po kayong pumunta sa mga opisinang ‘yon. Pumunta kayo sa mga may gumana para hindi masayang ang oras at araw ninyo [We wish to inform everyone to not go to the listed offices with defective engravers. Go to those that have working machines so your time and day will not go to waste].”

Lto Driver's License Renewal Experience Inline 06

Moving forward, how does the LTO plan to address this and not let such delays and backlogs for Driver’s License cards happen again? Simply put, they need funding. The reality is that the agency can only conduct repairs on the defective laser engravers, and we know that it’s a quick fix, the machines will eventually conk out again. Whether it’s a simple statement or a plea for help from the government, the agency’s commitment remains that they will continue to “relentlessly address the driver’s license backlog issue and to reduce it even further”.

“I commit to deliver those licenses pero kailangan ko rin ng pondo para ma-repair ang engravers natin […but we still need funding to repair the engravers],” Tugade added.

Curious how an agency as big as the LTO is in dire need of a budget. We can blame that on corruption and fixers and other unscrupulous practices and individuals, but right now, what matters is that they are heard and that someone has enough political will to make a stand for the people and their convenience.

Thank you, Assistant Secretary Tugade. We’ll be hoping for the best, and we’ll be watching.

Mikko Juangco
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