Drivers’ license renewal centers threaten closure

Manila, Philippines --- Private owners of drivers license renewal centers (DLRCs) in malls are threatening to shut down operations after losing substantial income from the abolition of drug testing requirement of drivers.

DLRC operators met with Land Transportation Office (LTO) Executive Director Atty. Alfonso Tan to air their problems and the possibility of shutting down operations, a week after the government finally stopped drivers from undergoing drug test as a requirement for license application and renewal.

Tan said DLRC operators generate income from the P100 medical fee and P300 drug test fee that drivers pay to renew their license.

They are complaining that because of the abolition of drug test for drivers, their income is not enough to maintain their operation, compensate their personnel and pay for their rent in commercial establishments, Tan said.

The drug test for drivers mandated in Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was repealed following the enactment of RA 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Drivers' Act of 2013.

There are at least 30 DLRCs nationwide, half of which operate within Metro Manila. DLRCs cater to drivers' license renewals to help reduce the number of clients in LTO regional and district licensing offices.

Tan admitted that LTO has yet to draw up a policy on how to help DLRCs continue their operation. "We are waiting for their written proposal on the alternate options for DLRCs to continue operation," he added.

While DLRCs help divert the traffic away from LTO regional and district licensing centers, former LTO National Capital Region (NCR) director Teofilo Guadiz said the centers have minimal contribution to ease the queue.

"During my time at the NCR, DLRCs only account for 18.75 percent of the total drivers' license renewals in Metro Manila. So even if DLRCs shut down, their absence will not really affect a lot of drivers because regular LTO licensing offices can accommodate the transactions," Guadiz said.

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