The LTO is at it again. Numerous innovations and processes have been put in place to “clear” the agency’s rather muddled reputation, the latest of which is bringing down the cost of acquiring a Driver’s License and Student’s Permit. But by their assessment, it’s not exactly the agency’s fees that jack the overall prices up.
LTO calls attention to high costs of Theoretical and Practical Driving Schools
Currently, the cost of a Driver’s License (based solely on the LTO’s fee matrix) is PHP 685 whereas a Student’s Permit will only cost PHP 250. Not bad, if you think about it. But of course, to get either, an applicant must have completed a theoretical and practical driving course from an accredited driving school as well as get a medical certificate, and this is where it does become costly.
Chief Assistant Secretary Jose Arturo “Jay Art” Tugade has put a Technical Working Group in place to study and reevaluate the rules and conditions on which driving schools and medical clinics base their service fees on.
“LTO is aware of the issue of driving schools charging excessively for TDCs and PDCs which is why the agency is continuously conducting consultative meeting with stakeholders related to this activity. What we are proposing, which will be based on the recommendation of the TWG, is a reasonable standard fee-based structure for driving schools aimed for the benefit of the public,” Tugade said in a statement.
The medical exam has long been a prerequisite for obtaining a Permit or License in the Philippines. Under Republic Act 10930, though, both a theoretical driving course (TDC) and a practical driving course (PDC) have been mandated for applicants to accomplish as a requirement for a 5-year validity license.
Yes, driving schools have always existed, but the fact of the matter is that whether an applicant is “school-trained” or not didn’t matter much back then. In fact, most if not all applicants were never even asked if they went to a driving school. Back then, an applicant would just walk to an LTO branch, fill out the paperwork, and maybe be asked to drive around, and voila, a Permit or License will be issued.
It’s this exact practice (along with the intention of rooting out ineligible drivers from getting behind the wheel) that served as the backbone of the mandated training and testing only from accredited schools and clinics was based upon.
The standardization of medical and driving school fees is what the LTO is banking on. “Batid po namin sa LTO ang sentimyento ng ating mga kababayan kaya naman ito’y amin nang pinag-aaralan para solusyunan. Maaaring sa mga susunod na linggo ay makapagpalabas na kami ng nirebisang panuntunan hinggil dito [The LTO understands the sentiments of the people, that’s why we are studying for solutions. It’s possible that we can come out with new rules regarding this in the next weeks],” Tugade later added.
If anything, this really strengthens the agency’s push toward being able to provide the best service possible to the public. But the next question is how their amendments will be taken by the clinics and driving schools. Will they comply, and what will the LTO do to ensure their compliance? That remains to be seen, but they still have the next couple of weeks to work the kinks out.