Paper-printed Driver’s Licenses again? New Supreme Court injunction may leave LTO no choice

The start of October brought pretty promising news for Driver’s Licenses in the Philippines, specifically the ability of the LTO to issue physical plastic cards. Such was the optimism that the Land Transportation Office even issued new guidelines on renewing expired licenses. All that may come to an abrupt end after the Supreme Court issued an injunction today; in layman’s terms, no new deliveries of plastic card supplies can come in. Once the stock has been used, that means one thing: the return of paper-printed licenses.

Writ of Preliminary Injunction may lead to stoppage of plastic card deliveries for LTO Driver’s Licenses

Lto Land Transportation Office Driver's License Plastic Card New Dates Of Renewal Main 00 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

As information for the public, LTO Chief Vigor Mendoza shared that a Quezon City Regional Trial Court had issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction earlier today. The said injunction aims to stop the delivery of plastic cards for the LTO to use in printing and distributing Driver’s Licenses; that said, it may result in yet another shortage.

We can remember a Temporary Restraining Order was issued last August following allegations of Allcard, Inc. of anomalies surrounding the awarding of the supplier contract to Banner Plasticards, Inc. That TRO’s effectivity lapsed last month and that led to the LTO being able to proceed with the printing of plastic card Driver’s Licenses.

While this new Injunction has not yet taken effect, it still poses an impending “threat” because, until such time this whole debacle is resolved, no new stocks of plastic cards can be made to or received by the LTO. An Injunction such as this does not expire until the court makes its decision on the case, through a motion for reconsideration or if the WPI is reversed by the Court of Appeals. Once it does come into effect, the LTO can only release Driver’s Licenses that expired in May and June.

Lto Dotr Driver's License Plastic Cards Delivery First Batch Inline 02 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

“Itong injunction po ay hindi pa ho effective sapagkat inutusan din ng korte ang petitioner sa kasong ‘yun, si Allcard, na magbigay ng injunction bond in the amount of PHP 6 million [This injunction is not yet in effect because the court also ordered the petitioner, Allcard, to give an injunction bond in the amount of PHP 6 million],” said LTO’s Mendoza.

“But until such time na magkaroon ng reversal o panibagong order galing sa mga korte, kapag naging effective itong WPI, we will be forced to comply [But until such time a reversal or a new order is released by the court, if the WPI takes effect, we will be forced to comply]. Kapag lumabas na po ang injunction na ‘yan, we will not be able to cover ‘yung current usage. ‘Yung pang-araw araw na nag-a-apply [If that injunction happens, we will not be able to cover the current usage, those who apply daily] for November and December,” Mendoza added.

Lto Dotr Driver's License Plastic Cards Delivery First Batch Inline 03 Min

Photo: Department of Transportation

Looking ahead, the LTO has already started the bidding for Driver’s License plastic card suppliers for next year, 2024. The next contract for plastic cards for Driver’s Licenses will consist of 4.6 million cards; this number should be able to supply for nine months beginning in January.

“Ngayon pa lang sinisimulan na ang bidding process para sa ganoon ay dire-diretso po ‘yan, short of making an award kasi hindi pa naman na-approve ‘yung 2024 budget [We have already started bidding so it will all go smoothly short of making an award because the budget for 2024 is yet to be approved]. We’re hoping na ‘yung 4.6 million cards na i-oorder natin ang tutugon sa pangangailangan natin until the third quarter of the year, including the backlog na mag-carry over [We’re hoping that the 4.6 million cards that we’re going to order will last until the 3rd quarter of the year, including the backlog that will carry over],” Mendoza explained.

All these said the LTO is likewise revisiting the possible use of the Electronic Driver’s License. No new updates to the above-mentioned Driver’s License renewal schedules have been issued by the LTO as of this post, but trust that we’ll be publishing news on that as more details come in.

Mikko Juangco
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