Press Release
February 3, 2021

It is the LTO that needs restraints

Who needs restraint the most? People in the LTO driver's seat.

It is behind the epidemic of new fees. It has become a super spreader of high fines.

There is confusion in the rules it issues. The lack of coherence of which is the regulatory equivalent of distracted driving.

Atras-abante sa multa sa face shields. Pero lumalabas na "swerving" naman pala ito sa alituntunin ng IATF.

Roll out of the Motor Vehicle Inspection System has been marred by chaos. And before that, it branched out into education, by mandating that driver applicants must be tuition-paying graduates of driving schools.

In the not-so-distant past, perfectly good car plates were yanked out in favor of new ones, which arrived late and which should be installed with new bolts as if these were made with space technology.

And then there was the case of licenses and stickers, which took longer to produce than space rockets.

Through the years, we have watched how a big diversified downstream industry run by private companies who profit from regulations has grown.

But let me be clear: Many of these programs have laudable intentions, but the implementation is far from lovable.

Ang problema kasi, full speed ahead sa mga programa na hindi man lang bumubusina. Widespread consultations do no harm. Policies are like cars--they should be road tested and subjected to independent review.

But most important, it should be tempered with compassion. Yes, bad driving must be punished, and car ownership and operation incur licensing expenses, but the affordability quotient must be studied in every fee and fine imposed.

There are good people in the DOTR - from Art Tugade, who is manning the fort, to Bong Nebrija, who is out there on the streets. The rail sector, with more trains and tracks, is running at full speed, above and below ground (subway). Sadly, these gains are being drowned out by the ruckus in the land transportation sector.

I propose that when fines which have the effect of taxes are imposed by an enforcer who is both judge and executioner, then it would do well if these be made to undergo review by the appropriate congressional committee and subject to the Office of the President's approval.

The elected representatives of the people are in these two branches. They may serve as the speedbumps that will prevent the owners and drivers of vehicles from getting run over by bad regulations. They can also help the LTO forge programs with social acceptability.

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