Release of new drivers’ licenses off to slow start

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An applicant shows off the new and improved driver’s license which the LTO started issuing on Tuesday. —EDWIN BACASMAS

A day after the Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced the release of plastic drivers’ licenses with a five-year validity, some applicants went home disappointed after they were still issued paper cards.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Lani (name changed upon request) said that she was excited when she heard that the new and improved licenses were already available.

However, when she went to the LTO office at Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City, she was told to “come back after six months” to claim her plastic driver’s license.

The only good news, Lani noted, was that the whole process took just 15 minutes.

At the LTO satellite office in Guadalupe, Makati City, applicants had to wait at least four hours, far longer than the 10 minutes it took for Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to get his driver’s license during the new cards’ rollout on Tuesday.

But they were still more fortunate than Lani because they were issued the new plastic drivers’ licenses.

Reached for comment, the LTO explained that some of their Metro Manila offices continued to issue paper licenses due to their intermittent internet connection.

The new system provided by the supplier, Dermalog, Nextix and CFP,  was “highly internet-driven,” which was why in some offices, the new drivers licenses could not be processed, it added.

As a result, their daily output of up to 5,000 licenses went down to just over 1,500 on the first day of the new cards’ rollout, according to Clarence Guinto, LTO-National Capital Region director.

Guinto asked the public “to bear with us,” saying that their offices would be open on Friday which is a holiday and on Saturday to attend to applicants and “to make up” for their low output.

He added that they were also in talks with their internet provider to ensure that the processing of the new cards would not be delayed.

The LTO earlier said that it would be releasing next week the plastic cards to drivers who were issued paper licenses starting in October 2016. A schedule of the distribution of the cards would soon be posted, it added.

According to the agency, forgers will have a hard time copying the new drivers’ licenses because these have 32 “enhanced” security features, including a hologram, laser engraving and guilloche.

The barcode on the cards now also contain the driver’s fingerprints and picture. – Jovic Yee 



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