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Sabotage eyed in LTO processing slowdown

Sabotage eyed in LTO processing slowdown

By Dempsey Reyes, Inquirer News

The information technology (IT) service provider of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has claimed that someone inside the agency is sabotaging the online registration and licensing system following complaints about the slow processing of applications.

The LTO, however, had no immediate comment on Dermalog Identification Systems’ “inside job” claim, only saying that its own investigation into the matter was ongoing. It also asked the IT firm to provide the agency with information and work with it to solve the problem.

Citing her company’s own findings, Dermalog spokesperson Nikki de Vega told reporters on Wednesday that they had traced the problem to “infected” computers at different LTO regional offices.

“I am referring to many computers of LTO here that are within its regional offices and causing a maliciously high volume of traffic in the LTO’s network,” she said.

One of these computers, she added, was found at the LTO Calabarzon office and believed to be one of the sources of the “high volume of traffic” causing the slowdown in the processing of applications. “So, it’s very disturbing why that happened,” De Vega said.

According to her, they had taken possession of the computer and an IT expert from the LTO “issued a report stating, indeed, that it was the source of malware.” She said they already transmitted their findings to the LTO.

Independent probe sought

De Vega ruled out the possibility of a lapse in the online system and called for a third-party investigator to be tapped to conduct an independent inquiry.

“When we look at the facts, it is possible it is an inside job. So we need other eyes to look at it,” she said.

The LTO has been receiving complaints about the slowdown in the processing of applications submitted to its online registration and licensing system which at times also goes offline. The agency has asked for patience for those using the system.

LTO chief Teofilo Guadiz III, earlier pinned the blame on Dermalog but De Vega disputed this, saying the former was “misinformed.”

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“These are unfair allegations. Thus, we are asking LTO chief Guadiz to apologize to Dermalog for his statements that are not accurate,” she said as she asked him to hold a dialogue with their firm for the fast resolution of the problem.

‘How do we manage this?’

In a separate news briefing, Francis Ray Almora, LTO’s bids and awards and steering committees chair, asked Dermalog to “provide us more data, information … to know on how we can fix, address this problem.”

Claudio Bonsol, head of the LTO Management Information Division, said their investigation was underway, adding that at the moment, they could not immediately say what specific factors were behind the delay in their online licensing services.

Almora, meanwhile, said the possibility of sabotage had not been raised during their previous meetings with Dermalog, despite De Vera’s claim that the firm had transmitted its findings to the LTO.

“That is why, if it’s possible, since they had not approached us yet, that they schedule a meeting with us to share with us their findings,” he added. “What we want here is to improve the services of the LTO.”