Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Poe tells LTO to review ‘chaotic’ digitalization program

Sen. Grace Poe has called on the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to make a thorough assessment of its digitalization program to deliver badly-needed efficient and fast service to the public.

“Years in implementation and billions of money spent later, the Land Transportation Office’s digitalization initiative leaves much to be desired,” Poe said.

Poe said the LTO is still plagued with the same old problems — slow if not unserviceable portal, long lines during application or renewal of licenses or registration, backlogs in license plates and recently, close to 700,000 shortage in requirements as basic as plastic license cards.

“These show the agency’s digitalization plan is chaotic. Kumbaga sa computer software, nasa beta phase pa rin. Puro testing, hindi na umusad sa final implementation,” she said.

Poe’s panel together with the Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday, June 8, quizzed LTO officials about its P3.19-billion Road Information Technology infrastructure project amid allegations of corruption.

A 2021 Commission on Audit report has found that LTO has made “undue” and “unjust” payments to firms which allegedly failed to deliver the project.

“Why was the payment made despite the reported issues and deficiencies of the provider? What has the LTO done about this?” Poe asked.

Poe said the problems hounding the country’s land transportation agency have already piled up. Band-aid or stopgap measures are not the remedies, she said.

Hindi pwedeng kapag nagkaubusan ng plastic license cards, papel muna ang driver’s license. O kaya naman dahil ubos na ang plaka para sa motor, do-it-yourself na plaka muna ang gamitin,” she said.

Ang digitalization program ay dapat pabilisin at pagaanin ang transaksyon ng ating mga kababayan, hindi maging pabigat,” she added.

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, memanwhile, said he wants to find out why there was a change of information technology system provider from Stradcom Corp. to German IT contractor Dermalog Identification System.

Ejercito also questioned the “generosity” of the LTO in allowing the payment of P1.066 billion in October last year to the foreign firm despite the fact that the LTO “recognized that the ‘Go Live’ (project) is not yet possible in the months to come” and the percentage of completion of the IT project LTO-Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) stood at 34 percent when it should be at 41 percent.

The LTMS is part of the P3.19 billion Road IT Infrastructure project that was awarded to the joint venture of Dermalog and its local partners in May 2018.

“It’s really disturbing… that there were really shortcomings on the part of Dermalog – they could not deliver — but we are already paying,” Ejercito said, citing an instance when the agency had already paid for the maintenance of undelivered software.

For his part, Sen. Raffy Tulfo inquired during the Blue Ribbon session whether the LTO has discontinued its practice of requiring vehicle owners to purchase a third party liability (TPL) insurance on top of their comprehensive car insurance when they register their vehicles.

Tulfo said he was promised that the current practice of a separate TPL would be discontinued when he visited the LTO in Quezon City a month ago.

“Have you complied with your promise? That is a source of corruption,” Tulfo said.

Department of Transportation secretary Jaime Bautista explained that a comprehensive insurance usually includes a TPL and would therefore not require a separate TPL.

He told Tulfo the LTO would implement the policy.

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