“Bayad naman ang mga rehistro at lisensya, pero bakit papel ang binibigay?” This question has hounded the LTO in light of the enduring absence of vehicle license plates and more recently, the depletion of plastic driver’s license cards. The public is of the notion that the money that they pay when registering vehicles, applying for, and renewing licenses goes to these items, and the agency has issued a statement regarding the matter.
LTO budgets do not come from daily earnings
According to Marivic Lopez, LTO Finance Division Chief, the budget for the printing/creating driver’s license cards, vehicle plates, and overall operations expenses of the agency do not come from its daily earnings. Lopez explained that whatever collections are taken in a day are remitted to the Bureau of Treasury the next morning. In a nutshell, the Land Transporation Office does not hold on to the money paid to them.
“The LTO is not authorized to retain funds collected/received from the day-to-day operations. All funds collected are remitted the following day. Ang pondo ng LTO ay galing sa GAA at hindi galing sa daily collections [The budget of the LTO comes from the GAA and not from daily collections],” Lopez said.
That said, whatever funding the agency needs on a yearly basis follows the allocation of Congress under the General Appropriations Act (GAA). From operations expenses to the purchasing of raw materials such as the blank plates and plastic cards used for licenses, that is where the money comes from.
The LTO has likewise reiterated that a lack of budget is not the root cause of the depletion of plastic cards as well as the impending exhaustion of license plate supplies. It is, in fact, the hampered procurement (process) and purchasing of these raw materials that caused the shortage. The agency even declared its gratitude to Congress for providing a funding allocation to address the backlog of the issuance of license plates.
The question we posed at the start of this article is quite valid, but what we might forget is that there are larger factors in play as the LTO also runs as a “business”, in a manner of speaking; a business that needs to answer to a higher power that is the Bureau of Treasury and ultimately, the Department of Transportation and the national government. Are their hands tied? Perhaps.
The only thing that the public hopes, for now, is for incidents and complications like this to finally be addressed and stopped from happening in the first place. Bureaucracy takes too much of a toll on everyone, after all.