Why does it cost P9,500 to get a driver’s license? lawmaker asks
MANILA, Philippines — Pampanga Rep. Anna York Bondoc seeks a congressional inquiry into the “excessive” cost of getting a driver’s license for the first time.
Bondoc has filed House Resolution No. 751 urging the House Committee on Transportation to investigate why the cost of acquiring a driver’s license has reached at least P9,500.
For Bondoc, a driver’s license is essential, particularly for drivers of public utility vehicles, and is “one of the most accepted government-issued IDs.”
“The excessive cost for the acquisition of a new driver’s license impacts and exacts financial hardship and burden upon 50 million Filipinos who are below the age of 25 years old and will be driving for the first time,” she added.
According to the website of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), a first-time driver is required to use only a student permit for at least one year and that could cost as much as P2,500 if it includes the theoretical driving course, which could be priced at an average of P1,500.
A nonprofessional driver’s license requires a practical driving course in the LTO or its accredited schools that could cost from P3,000 to P10,000, depending on the type of vehicle, apart from the payment of exam and license fees.
Aside from the testing and processing fees, a driver may have to pay another fee for the plastic driver’s license itself, but he may have to wait for months because of problems the LTO has been having with its plastic card suppliers over the past few years.
Delays in the issuance of driver’s licenses, as well as motor vehicle registration plates, since the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III. At that time, the backlog reached three million licenses.
In 2017, the Duterte administration undertook a P836-million deal with a German company for the delivery of plastic license cards, but LTO chief Jay Art Tugade admitted last December that the agency still had a sizable backlog.
“All backlogs shall be completely addressed not later than Jan. 15, 2023,” he said in the memorandum, but there has since been no word whether the agency has addressed the backlog.
Tugade noted that the backlog is due to the lack of functional laser engravers and ongoing repairs of defective units at several centers and the agency was waiting for parts of the laser printers.
The LTO chief is the son of former Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade, who signed the 2017 deal with German firm Dermalog Identification Systems.
Tugade issued a memorandum dated Dec. 9 ordering all LTO regional and district offices to “completely address” a backlog of 92,000. But it was not clear whether he meant that drivers would be issued plastic driver’s licenses or just paper licenses, similar to the ones issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
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