MAKING MOTORING FUN: Finally, there’s hope for motorists

AAP President

Motorists have been suffering for years, and, because no solution has appeared on the horizon during the last six years, they have therefore given up hope that there will ever be deliverance.

What issues have been frustrating motorists for years? There are many, but let me just zero in on three issues.

First is the failure of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to release drivers’ licenses on time; second, is the failure of this same agency to release car plates on time; and third, is the Metro-Manila crisis, called traffic!

The first two were created by the LTO itself and therefore should be quite easy to solve. To be fair, these two problems were not the handiwork of the present LTO Chief, but rather, by his predecessor(s).

It’s difficult to understand why drivers’ licenses cannot be released immediately upon application for renewal. It used to be that way. Why can’t they do it now? They have all the data that they need. They have the printing machines that create those license cards. If they need more, then they can procure more. What’s so difficult about that?

I renewed my license in November, 2015 in Makati’s LTO branch. I stayed in that office for no more than an hour. And I got my license! Not just the official receipt, as others only get. If the Makati branch can do it, why can’t the other branches do it?

And the car plates – oh, this has been a festering problem for some years now. One buys a brand new car, and he has to wait for six months, often, more than a year, before he gets the car plates for his car. As if this weren’t enough, LTO then decided that they would require all vehicles, new and old, to have their car plates replaced with new ones upon their registration. They therefore multiplied their problems some twenty times!

This problem is of course very easy to solve – just discontinue the replacement of old car plates with new ones. It’s a problem that’s so ridiculous especially because it was created by the LTO itself. The former LTO Chief, when asked during a Congressional hearing why they were changing old car plates even if there was nothing wrong with them, replied, “We want to standardize the design”. It’s pure folly. It will cost the motorists some P3.6 billion, but will enrich the foreign supplier, for sure. We urge the LTO to please discontinue this requirement, if it has not already done so.

The third – traffic – is something else. The problem is complicated and obviously, the solution will not be a simple one. And it’s not only motorists who have endured this extremely bad daily situation, but all commuters, as well.

What has made matters worse is that for many years, there appears to be nobody trying to solve these problems.

The Metro-Rail Transit or MRT system was supposed to alleviate the traffic problems at ground level, but a series of mechanical breakdowns, many caused by inefficient management, have rendered it ineffective, as a whole.

But now there is hope. The incoming Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is known to be a manager par excellence. I have no doubt at all that he can solve the many problems of land transportation. We welcome your appointment, incoming Secretary Art Tugade!