MANILA – The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday approved a measure extending the validity of driver’s license to five years.
“This committee, therefore, approves in principle measures seeking to amend Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, as amended by Batas Pambansa Bilang 398, extending the validity of all driver’s licenses to five years,” Sen Grace Poe said after finding no opposition to the proposal.
Poe said the committee will now be working on a final and consolidated version of the bill and present it to the plenary soon.
“Wala na tayong hearing. Committee report tapos papipirmahin na natin ito para mapasa na ito sana bago mag-adjourn sa May,” Poe said.
On Tuesday’s hearing, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) said that the 5-year driver's license validity card is expected to roll out by August.
LTO Executive Director Atty. Romeo Vera Cruz said they are already issuing the 5-year license validity but without the card.
"It will be staggered delivery based on tatlong group po yan--Metro Manila, Region 4-A, Region 3, Region 7 and Region 11 first; then the rest of the regions," said Vera Cruz.
Vera Cruz said the LTO has awarded the contract for the five-year license validity card to a Filipino-German joint venture.
"We have already awarded the contract to a supplier to supply 5 million cards. This will address backlog for the 4th quarter of 2016, the entire year, and the first quarter of 2018," he said.
But the committee wants the LTO to submit the winning bidder’s capitalization and profile.
The Senate said that around P526 million was included in the agency's budget for the driver's license.
"These cards have significant security features, much better than the current 3-year cards, in the sense that there will only be 1 license card for one person," he explained.
He cited as example that when a driver is apprehended by the LGU and his card is confiscated, the driver would just submit an affidavit to obtain another license.
"Sometimes, a person would change his or her middle initial just to get a driver's license," he said.
But more security features will be embedded in the 5-year validity card to prevent it from being tampered.
This includes biometrics, barcode of the driver's photo, and history, and a hologram mark. Traffic violations will be uploaded on the system and the barcodes in the license will reflect the changes immediately.
"Sa picture sa card, pag ginamitan ng lens makikita yung pangalan saka yung license number," Vera Cruz explained.
Poe suggested that the LTO place more biometric scanners to cut long queues. There are currently 265 LTO offices nationwide.
Also, the LTO announced that the cards will no longer be printed. Instead, it will be engraved.
Vera Cruz said the LTO purchased the equipment and will be soon be producing the cards. It will bid out supplies needed to produce driver's license eventually.
The LTO said that a license costs P389 and driver's license applicants currently pay P820 for a new license and P652.63 for renewal.
"Bababa ang presyo pag may new ID na," said Vera Cruz.
Meanwhile, the LTO is also in the process of revising the examination question for license applicants to ensure that only qualified and disciplined drivers are allowed to drive.