DAVAO CITY – An official of the Land Transportation Office on Wednesday said they have not yet received a copy of the order suspending the new policy of requiring drivers to secure police and National Bureau of Investigation clearance in applying or renewing their drivers’ licenses.
LTO 11 Assistant Regional Director Macario Gonzaga said in a press conference on Wednesday that the suspension of the new Administrative Order No. 029 was announced Tuesday, but they will be waiting for the guidelines before lifting the AO. The new AO was implemented by LTO last November 9.
He said the implementation of AO No. 029 is in response to the numerous complaints on vehicular accidents reported to the LTO involving mainly PUVs.
“The intention of this new administrative order was to have the safety of the passengers for professional drivers and upgrade the standards of our public utility drivers,” he said.
“Today we are expecting the new guidelines to be forwarded to us. In the meantime, we told our chiefs of offices sa LTO, hindi pa kami pwedeng mag lift agad ‘pag walang guidelines (we cannot lift the AO if there are no guidelines),” said Gonzaga.
Gonzaga said they are expecting to receive the copy of the guidelines on Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga quoted LTO assistant secretary Atty. Alfonso Tan as citing the need to “balance” public safety with the livelihood of the drivers as a reason why the AO was temporarily suspended.
Gonzaga said “80-90%” of drivers are driving public utility vehicles.
Gonzaga also said that a nationwide public hearing was conducted in Cagayan de Oro City last October 12 wherein various suggestions were forwarded by LTO stakeholders.
“Sabi nila, hirap-hirapan natin ang mga requirements para sa professional driver’s license to ensure the safety of the passengers. Marami nga ang lumabas sa public hearing gusto ng iba, kailangan nga mga kukuha ng professional driver’s license, they need to pass by (many) neuro examinations, kailangan lahat ng professional (license applicants), especially PUV drivers, kailangan mag re-exam sila to pass the (Professional Drivers License Exam)
(They said we should make the requirements for those applying for professional driver’s license difficult to ensure the safety of the passengers. There are a lot of (suggestions) that were thrown during the public hearing. They proposed to have professional driver applicants pass neurological examinations and for all professional license applicants, especially PUV drivers, to take and pass the Professional Drivers License Exam),” he said.
Professional license allows an individual to drive PUVs, government services, while non-professional license allows an individual to drive only private vehicles.
For his part, Charito Juranes, chairperson of transport group Transmision-Piston in Davao City said “while there are reports that the Department of Transportation and Communication has already suspended the new requirements, the LTO has not received a copy yet so the drivers continue to secure the new requirements.”
“We welcome the decision should they finally suspend the new AO,” he said.
Juranes reiterated that they were not informed of any consultation prior to the implementation of the new order.
He said the agency has “never implemented a law where drivers have been consulted.”
Gonzaga also advised those who are applying for a driver’s license or renewing their license to “wait for the new guidelines.” (With a report from Dayanarah Lavadia/davaotoday.com)