13 March 2012

The Driver's Triennial Duty

License Renewal Form
Every driver in the Philippines have a duty every three years, to renew their driver license. The expiration date on one's license is conveniently dated on his birthday 3 years beyond. Drivers may renew their licenses within 2 months of the expiry date or pay a penalty if they renew past it.

I forgot to renew my license before my birthday. The LTO and the License renewal centers are closed during weekends meaning a typical working man had to file for a leave just to renew his license. Fortunately, LTO DLRCs (Land Transportation Office Driver's License Renewal Centers) have been popping up like mushrooms everywhere, spreading out the number of license renewers rather than piling-up in the few LTO offices. Now licenses are renewed in less than an hour.

This was not the case 3 years ago. February 9, 2009, I went to an LTO DLRC at Araneta Square in Monumento to renew my license. I arrived just before 10AM and the lines were already long but the steps were easy to follow. After a couple of hours waiting for my turn, the DLRC started to close up shop for lunch. Another hour I guess. Luckily, the guy printing the license cards saw me as I was about to leave and asked me to stay and wait for my card. Thanks man! That was 3 years ago.

LTO DLRC Araneta Square
Monumento, Caloocan
This year, I arrived 2:18PM at the same DLRC with no one in sight. I asked around and the guys at the Drug Testing Center guided me through the process. I filled up some forms, had my eyes checked, and peed my way to a clean drug test result. I already drank a bottle of water to be ready for the urine test. Bottled water is available for sale at the center to help those not yet ready to "go." After getting my results, my picture was taken together with my electronic signature. Then I paid at the cashier then waited a few minutes more for my new driver's license to be released. I finally got my hands on my new license by 3:07PM. That's 49 minutes in total.

I even would've got my new license 15 minutes earlier if not for the cashier who went outside for 5 minutes, maybe to pee or eat, and for the guy printing the cards who went out for 10 minutes probably to have some snacks. Still, 49 minutes is not bad a wait for renewing my driver's license. What's bad though is the corruption inside the centers.

Cashier and Releasing
First off, there's only one Drug Testing Laboratory and Medical Check-up center and you wouldn't know who's working for whom. Guys from the laboratory go in and out of the DLRC office like it's their own and vice versa. Smells a little fishy. The cashier, a man maybe on his 50's or more is the only guy who doesn't mingle much with everybody and I thought he was legit. Wrong! Just as he called me to pay for my fees, the total amount flashed PHP492.63 but he then asked me to pay PHP495.00. Short on coins perhaps? He also did the same thing to the guy next to me. Php2.37 maybe small but multiply that by let's say a hundred transactions a day then that's Php237 a day, or Php7,110 a month! On a lighter note though, the license jacket, the plastic case with an LTO logo on it, is no longer mandatory but is now only optional unlike the previous years. At Php20 you have three colors to choose from, red, green and a clear one. I chose green.

Inside the Drug Testing Lab


Medical Check-up: Php100
Drug Test: Php300
License Fee: Php350
Penalty for Late Renewal: Php75
Computer Fee: Php67.63

TOTAL: Php892.63*

*Total amount does not include Php2.37 "tong" by the cashier

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