From jubilation and a sense of hope to dread and being let down. After the LTO’s announcement that Driver’s Licenses can finally be issued and given out as plastic cards – as they should – the recent injunction issued by a Quezon City Regional Trial Court has all but doused everyone’s joy. When the injunction takes effect, it will effectively stop all deliveries of plastic cards for licenses, and until such time the case has been resolved, no new cards will come in from the current supplier. The result: we are likely going back to paper-printed Driver’s Licenses.
Vigor Mendoza II, LTO Chief, appeals to Allcards, Inc. “not to pursue the case anymore”
A personal statement from the agency chief was posted on the LTO’s official social media page yesterday. In a nutshell, Vigor Mendoza II related how jubilation and sighs of relief have quickly turned into the taking away of hope for a sense of normalcy from those affected by the plastic cards shortage for Driver’s Licenses. It’s even more distressing “especially with the uncertainty at this point as to when the case would be resolved with finality.”
As quoted by the LTO, Mendoza had this to say: “In this regard and on behalf of the millions of our clients, I personally extend my appeal to the Allcards, Inc. not to pursue the case it filed anymore for the sake of the Filipino people who are at the core of both our mission and vision to have easier and convenient way of life through reliable technology platforms.”
On the day that the (first) Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the use and further deliveries of plastic cards was issued, LTO Chief Atty. Vigor Mendoza II had said that “the greater public interest should prevail over the business interest of one or two”.
This whole debacle follows allegations of Allcards, Inc. – who lost the bidding for being the plastic card supplier of the LTO, despite their cost being cheaper than winning bidder Banner Plasticards, Inc.’s – that there was a lack of transparency from the Department of Transportation in awarding the contract to the winning bidder.
Mendoza was further quoted as saying, “While the government is ready to go on any prolonged legal battles on the issue and to exhaust all the available legal remedies to address this problem, wala namang mawawala sa pagpapakumbaba para sa kapakanan ng milyong-milyon nating mga kababayan na apektado nito [nothing will be lost if we humble ourselves for the welfare of millions of our countrymen affected by this].”
The TRO had already lapsed, and that is the reason why until the issuance of the new injunction, the LTO was able to resume printing and distribution of plastic card Driver’s Licenses. Such was the agency’s optimism that they already issued a new schedule for the renewal of expired licenses that would be replaced with actual card licenses. Alas, the process has been halted yet again, and likelier for a longer period and an uncertain length of time now.
We cannot say for certain if the allegations are true, and we wish not to weigh in as the bidding proceedings are not known to us, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to assess that the benefit of the greater good – and majority – should outweigh the personal “feelings” of individuals or business entities. Everyone’s simply hoping that all these issues are put to rest, ourselves included. But if there were, indeed, any anomalies, let them be properly addressed, actioned upon, and not be repeated in the future. Not at the cost of the public’s convenience and hard-earned, already-paid-for benefits.