Problems plague switch to new drivers' licenses
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The government is facing several road blocks as it tries to produce new drivers' license cards and Filipino drivers will feel the delays.
The problems range from conflicts over the design, system glitches and miscommunication with the supplier.
1. Questionable design
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has raised questions over what it alleged were illegal design changes and said on June 15 it would investigate the manufacturer, Amalgamated Motors Philippines Inc. (AMPI). The supplier plans to switch to cheaper "hard paper" instead of plastic.
2. More expensive
Since the materials are cheaper, insiders at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) raised questions about why the manufacturer should receive a higher budget to produce the cards, reported The Philippine Star. The Land Transportation Office already raised the budget allocated to AMPI by 10% to P600 million in 2012, from P56 million in 2011.
3. More time to make and wait
The hard yellow colored paper will need to be laminated, which reportedly adds one-minute to the production process. The Philippine Star said the extra minute could add as many as 5 hours of production time every day and means applicants will have to claim their card the next day instead of within the day, like they do now.
4. Lack of communication
LTO Executive Director Alfonso Tan Jr. said the design changes were made without their knowledge.
AMPI reportedly wrote a letter to LTO chief, Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres, informing the government that it intended to upgrade its facilities and make changes to produce "more secure, environment-friendly and better-looking driver's license cards."
Given the spate of problems, the Department of Transportation will need to iron out a better solution regarding the drivers' license.The DOTC had wanted to take on a new contractor but was held back by legal issues. The contract with Ampi expired in 2006 but a Quezon City court's injunction compelled DOTC to continue with their services.
DOTC complained that the Quezon City Regional Trial Court "unlawfully enlarged" that injunction to involve not only the services for driver's license cards but also to halt bidding for a different project - the new P8.2 billion information technology system for the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
"The government is eager to move forward with bidding out the IT system before the contract for the current system with Stradcom Corp. expires in Feburary 2013. DOTC filed “a petition for certiorari before the CA through the SolGen,” said DOTC secretary Manuel Roxas on June 19.
The petition raises the case to the Court of Appeals where the DOTC hopes for a favorable decision. DOTC said the current 13-year old IT system of LTO "is no longer responsive to current land transportation regulation requirements."
The DOTC added that under the "present automation set-up of the LTO, key data such as vehicle registration are handled by a third-party provider and not by the government."
If not handled properly, both projects could cause more problems down the line.
In the meantime, licensing centers have reported non-functioning printing machines and system glitches which have caused over-crowding. - Rappler.com