Glitch hits online policy of LTO, but solon cites need for central database

The move by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to require driver’s license applicants to submit their medical certificates online are appropriate and necessary to ensure road safety, a congressman has said.

Last Monday, January 7, the LTO announced that it was mandating the online submission of medical certificate for applicants of driver’s license.

The agency said it is implementing the policy to serve the public better and to conform with the mandate of Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Services Act of 2018 to automate transactions.

But as soon as the project was rolled out, glitches hobbled the system that led to long waiting times and numerous complaints from the public.

“Although we trained the doctors on the use of biometric examination and uploading of results in LTO System, still there were delays experienced, as expected of any new system,” the agency said.

Initially, the LTO waived the penalties for licenses which expired due to the system glitch. But on Tuesday, January 9, the agency made an announcement that it was “now accepting manual hard copies of medical certificates issued in lieu of the electronic submission until further notice.”

Despite the glitch, Angat Tayo party-list representative Neil Abayon said there are “simply too many Filipinos out there who take shortcuts or resort to fake or doctored documents whenever they transact business with government and private offices.”

 “LTO is right in putting in place the new measures and procedures. Clinics, doctors, and hospitals that issue medical certificates have legal obligations to the public and in this situation to the LTO as the agency of the State that issues driver’s licenses,” said Abayon, a member of the House Transportation Committee.

Abayon added that the move by the LTO “will lessen the ‘kamote’ and/or other medically unfit drivers on the road; thus, making our roads safer for the law abiding drivers.”

“Here in our country, we have a widespread underground industry engaged in the production of fake certificates, identification cards, diplomas, transcripts of records, baptismal records, birth certificates, medical test results, and various other documents. It has become a culture of utter disregard of basic decency and laws of the land,” the 29-year-old solon said.

Abayon said the pervasiveness and proliferation of fake documents forced the LTO to resort to the new measures.

“Many other government agencies are faced with the same problem of fake documents. Congress passed the Philippine National ID system as one way to address this crucial matter,” the congressman said.

“I believe the government agencies must now come together to develop common protocols and a centralized, most secure database or network of databases through which all documents for transactions with government offices shall be submitted, processed and stored,” Abayon said.

The lawmaker said the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the National Privacy Commission, the Philippine Statistics Authority, and other agencies responsible for data “must take on this long-term challenge requiring hefty capital, technology, and manpower resources.”

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