LTO: Crunching the numbers from ’18 to ’20

By Tessa R. Salazar Philippine Daily Inquirer May 29,2019

If there’s any hard evidence that this so-called “golden age of motorization” in the Philippines is well underway, it’s the sheer numbers that the government’s main office handling land transportation have to deal with.

Consider these:

In 2018, the LTO registered 11.6 million motor vehicles, an increase of almost 1.2 million or 11.4 percent, from the 2017 figure of 10.5 million. In 2018, 7.5 million new drivers’ licenses and permits were issued, an uptick of 12.21 percent, from the 6.63 million issued in 2017.

The number of apprehended drivers also increased to almost 680,000, an additional 38,700 apprehensions, or 6 percent more than the 2017 total of 640,500.

The Land Transportation Office has procured a total of 6.25 million pieces of plastic cards to make into drivers’ licenses just for this year. The Office has been currently issuing licenses with the newly extended 5-year validity. As of April 30 this year, the LTO has printed around 10.3 million plastic cards with the new
5-year validity period.

Then there’s the contentious issue of the vehicle license plates. The LTO claims that its new plate-making plant (PMP) is now able to produce 22,400 pieces of motor vehicle plates per day on two eight-hour shifts. The PMP, which LTO says houses an automated plate-making machine, can produce 11,200 plates per day on the same 2-shift schedule. The LTO is confident that with its new PMP, the Office has better control of the rate of production, delivery, and the eventual release of plates to motor vehicle owners.

And now the bottomlines. LTO’s total revenue collection in 2018 amounted to almost P24.2 billion, up P1.5 billion or 6.6 percent from the P22.7 billion in revenues in 2017.

These, and more, were revealed by Assistant Secretary Edgar C. Galvante during the 107th LTO Anniversary at Bulwagang Edu at the LTO Central Office in East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City last May 21. Galvante said that the role of the LTO is mandated to register roadworthy vehicles, provide licenses and permits to qualified individuals, enforce land transport and traffic rules and regulations, and adjudicate traffic cases. These directives aim to promote order and safety along the country’s roads.

This writer asked LTO Director Francis Ray Almora if LTO’s record revenue would be used to speed up further the LTO’s operations, to live up to its mission to “rationalize the land transportation services and facilities, and to effectively implement the various transportation laws, rules and regulations.”

In an SMS response, Almora said LTO’s collections are remitted to the National Treasury, and “not returned to the LTO. The operational budget of LTO is included in the General Appropriations Act.” Asked about LTO’s operational budget, Almora said that the budget section head privy to such a figure wouldn’t be in until later this week.

Overwhelming LTO’s multibillion-peso revenue may be, it may still be no match to the daunting expectations of the motoring public. The “golden age of motorization” may be creating as many challenges as it is hurdling, and the margin for error is frighteningly small.

Galvante revealed the Office’s plans, such as the preparations for the eventual issuance of drivers’ licenses with 10-year validity periods; the online payment system and how it would facilitate payments for the initial registration of new motor vehicles; improvements in the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS); law enforcement; and then, of course, the monster that lurks within the shadow of every public service office, which rears its ugly head at every opportune moment–corruption.

Galvante said that last year, the LTO introduced several IT-driven services to maximize the use of technology to make services faster, more efficient, convenient and comfortable, and more importantly, to check

And the stench of corruption has been nagging the LTO for as long as the vehicle license plate issue has gone unresolved.

“To address the backlog (of vehicle license plates), in 2017, this Administration re-established the PMP. In April 2018, the LTO inaugurated the new facility. Plate production commenced the following day. The PMP is part of the contract for the procurement of 775,000 pairs of motor vehicle plates, and 1.7 million pieces of motorcycle plates to address the plate requirements from July 2016 and beyond,” Galvante said.

“We at the LTO are targeting to completely resolve the backlog on motor plates by mid-2020,” he declared.

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