LTO policy to limit privilege to ‘good’ motorists discriminatory, says San Mateo
The head of a nationwide transport group said on Sunday that the Land Transportation Office (LTO) should make the 10-year driver’s license available to all motorists without any conditions, pointing out that there were already laws in place that allow traffic agencies to suspend or revoke the licenses of errant drivers.
Piston chair emeritus George San Mateo told the Inquirer that issuing the license with a 10-year validity to those with spotless traffic records was “discriminatory,” arguing that this would benefit only those who drove occasionally or could afford to buy their way out of a ticket.
“This is a very discriminatory and double-standard scheme because there are varying levels by which vehicles stay on the road,” he said.
Most likely to be caught
“Meanwhile, our drivers who are on the road for over 12 hours every day to serve our commuting public do not get to enjoy this privilege,” San Mateo added. “They are the most likely to be ticketed for violations, (especially) since traffic enforcers often like to prey on them for extortion.”
Earlier, the LTO announced that only motorists without any traffic violation would qualify for the 10-year driver’s license to be issued starting October next year, in line with the implementation of Republic Act No. 10930. The law extends the validity of licenses from three to five years and subjects all motorists to a demerit system.
The license with a 10-year validity, according to LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, was a “premium privilege” meant to encourage motorists to follow traffic regulations.
San Mateo, however, condemned RA 10930 as “class legislation” as he said that limiting the privilege to those with absolutely zero demerits would, in fact, make it impossible to attain.
He was referring to Galvante’s statement that even just a single demerit could disqualify any motorist from having the “premium” license.
“Who in this country would be able to avail of that, then? Of course it would be people with licenses but don’t drive, or overseas workers who are abroad but have driver’s licenses here,” he said.
“It’s not like the LTO is [also a] squeaky-clean agency itself. Even President Duterte called it one of the most corrupt ones in government,” San Mateo noted, referring to the President’s warning in 2016 that he was thinking of abolishing the agency, along with the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue. INQ