Assistant Secretary Jose Arturo “Jay Art” Tugade has resigned from his post as Chief of the LTO. Tugade is stepping down per an announcement posted on the agency’s social media page yesterday, May 22, 2023. This comes after the Land Transportation Office figured in a number of problems and “shortcomings” in the past few months.
LTO Chief cites differences between himself and DOTr Chief as reason for resignation
Tugade had a lot of plans since taking his seat in the LTO in November of last year. On his appointment day, he vowed to put reforms in place to rid the agency of corruption. This commitment was upheld with numerous campaigns and efforts from the Chief’s office itself such as setting deadlines for brand new vehicle plates and registrations and penalizing dealerships who do not comply, standardization of the Theoretical Driving Course prices, lowering medical examination fees, the Isumbong Mo Kay Chief campaign where the public can send their complaints to Tugade himself, and many more.
In his statement, Tugade cited differences between his and DOTr Chief Jaime Bautista’s methods in serving the public. It reads “Even as DOTR and LTO both aim to succeed in serving the public, our methods to achieve that success differ. For this reason, I am stepping down, so Sec. Jimmy Bautista will have the free hand to choose who he can work best with.”
Further, Tugade said “I will continue to root for the LTO’s success even as a private citizen, because I will always share in Sec. Bautista’s belief that our offices can be a formidable force for good in our country.” Both Tugade and Bautista were appointed to office by President Marcos.
The most recent problems that the LTO faced before Tugade’s resignation are the looming shortage of plastic cards for driver’s licenses and the depletion of blank vehicle license plates. Tugade has made it clear that he and his agency have employed and exhausted all efforts to prepare for these shortages well ahead of time, and that the decision to act upon their requests fell on the DOTr with Bautista at the helm. To the end, Tugade has maintained his confidence in Bautista and his leadership in the Department of Transportation, but now we see the former’s departure.
As citizens, we want to express our profound gratitude to Atty. Jay Art Tugade for all his efforts to, indeed, rid the Land Transportation Office of all corruption and red tape, as well as for finding innovative and technology-driven ways to improve the LTO’s service for the public. All the ideas that have been implemented and may now be shelved are very sound, and we cannot deny that. It’s only sad that the agency has lost a leader with clear political will. Whether it’s a lack of support or any other reason(s), Tugade’s short term as LTO Chief is commendable, and again, our thanks to you, and for your service.
If only one remembers that “Public Office Is A Public Trust”, then perhaps government agencies and their parent departments can find ways to work together in the interest of the public and not “serve at the President’s pleasure”, as some other public officials have said and continue to believe.
All the best to you, Atty. Tugade!