Press Release
May 15, 2017

Sponsorship Speech by Sen. Grace Poe
On Extending the Validity of Driver's Licenses From Three Years to Five Years

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, and guests, magandang hapon po.

Today, I proudly sponsor Senate Bill No. 1449 or An Act Extending the Validity Period of Driver's Licenses, from the current three years to five years.

This is a very straightforward bill that may appear a simple amendment to Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, but greatly impacts the convenience of motorists in securing a license.

In 2016 alone, there were 5.8 millon people who applied for a driver's license, this includes applications for a student permit. Just imagine how many people will benefit from this amendment.

Extending the validity of a driver's license is a commonsensical idea that should have been done a long time ago. Hindi lang makakaiwas sa trapik at sa pagpila ng mahaba ang ating mga kababayan na nangangailangang magrenew, pero nakakaiwas din sila sa red tape sa gobyerno.

Although the LTO has already issued Administrative Order No. 2016-34 in line with the President's pronouncements to extend the validity of driver's licenses, we should bear in mind that an EO cannot amend a law.

What Congress prescribes, only Congress can amend. Thus, while we commend the executive branch for initiating the steps that will pilot the issuance of a five-year license, it is my position that passing this bill into law is definitely still needed.

Once passed into law, the validity of a driver's license will not just be extended from three years to five years, but those without infractions during those five years, may also be granted a 10-year license.

The new license will also have better security features. Ngayon, kapag kinumpiska ng local government ang lisensya ng isang motorista na pasaway, gagawa lang affidavit of loss ang driver na iyun at makakakuha siya ng isa pang lisensya. So there are instances when one person has two licenses.

With the new licenses, this will no longer be possible. The licenses will be connected to a system that will alert the LTO if the license was previously confiscated. This can be done through the biometrics feature of the card.

Another problem of the current ID is the useless barcode on the card. Wala pang laman yung mga barcode na yun. The LTO has assured us that this will change with the issuance of the new card by August.

The barcode, when scanned, can easily inform police officers of any violation committed by the driver. Currently, the LTO requires deputized agents to upload a driver's violation by way of a temporary operator's permit within 24 hours. In the bill, we will require all agencies and even LGUs issuing traffic violations to continue this practice of uploading violations to the LTO's system within 24 hours.

This is the reason why it takes time to procure this type of card. Hindi po ito parang school ID lang na napapagawa sa tabi-tabi.

But the question we all want to ask is this: Will it cost more? The answer is no. Baka bumaba pa. From the current fee of Php 820, the LTO is expected to charge only around Php 700 for the new cards.

Some may be apprehensive extending the validity of driver's licenses to five years, considering that there are a lot of bad drivers out there. The remedy for this has nothing to do with the period of validity of a driver's license, as the license can be revoked or suspended anytime by the LTO. The remedy is for the LTO to conduct better tests and implement training programs for motorists, especially those who drive public utility vehicles.

These solutions, however, will be the subject of a different committee hearing, which I intend to hold.

I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will see to the immediate passage of this bill, which will save all the drivers in this land millions of man-hours otherwise spent in queuing to get the permit to operate a motor vehicle.

Maraming Salamat po.

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