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LTO 12 boosts road safety efforts, addresses backlogs in driver's licenses, plates

LTO XII chief administrative officer Elmer Obelidhon shares updates on their programs and services for enhanced road safety and addresses longstanding issues that have affected motorists during the PIA's Performing and Informing online program.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) -- The Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the Soccsksargen region is taking significant steps to enhance road safety and address longstanding issues that have affected motorists.

Regional Director Melharrieh Tomawis steers the agency’s advocacy efforts to address motorists' needs for all its encompassing programs targeting the vulnerable sector, and students have been initiated to instill safe road behaviors early and address safety concerns.

Here's what you need to know about their recent initiatives:

Free Theoretical Driving Course

To promote road safety and empower underserved communities, LTO 12 is offering a free theoretical driving course (TDC) for indigent residents.

In an interview with the Philippine Information Agency 12, LTO 12 chief administrative officer Elmer Obelidhon said this initiative not only provides an opportunity for individuals to obtain a driver's license but also ensures that they receive essential knowledge about road rules and responsible driving.

“This is intended for those who are indigent, and it’s free. This is a program of LTO to support the program of the national government in bringing fast and efficient service to the people,” Obelidhon said.

From January to August 2023, a total of 2,425 indigent residents in Soccsksargen have availed of the free TDC.

Obelidhon revealed that aside from the regular scheduled TDC at their regional office in Koronadal City, they are also bringing this program down to the barangays.

“We are extending this program to far-flung barangays in order to reach out to those who can hardly go to the city or pay for the amount in private driving schools,” he said.

Based on LTO Memorandum Circular No. In JMT-2023–2390, private driving institutions can only charge up to P1,000 for a theoretical driving course.

Indigent residents avail of the free Theoretical Driving Course at the LTO regional office in Koronadal City. 
Backlog on Driver's License Cards

As of September 12, LTO 12 has a backlog of 98,969 driver's license cards.

Odelidhon said the supply of drivers’ licenses is experiencing a shortage mainly due to a legal battle between two firms that bid for supply of the cards, stalling their delivery.

To address this backlog, the official said LTO issued a memorandum circular ordering the automatic extension of the validity of expired driver’s licenses to April 2024 or until such time that the cards will be available, whichever comes first.

Obelidhon explained that “the validity of license cards issued on April 3, 2023, is extended up to April 2, 2024,” which means that those with expiring licenses during the covered dates would not need to go to the LTO office to extend the validity of their driver’s licenses.

No penalties will apply during this period, Obelidhon assured. “We already have issuances directing all law enforcers to respect and consider the licenses,” he said, adding that those who opt to have their licenses renewed will be given a system-generated driver’s license official receipt stamped or printed with “Valid as Temporary Driver’s License Until Plastic Card is Released.”

Unreleased Motor Vehicle (MV) and Motorcycle (MC) Plates

LTO 12 has also called on vehicle owners waiting for their motor vehicle (MV) and motorcycle plates to check with the agency as there is a pile of unreleased plates sitting at their office waiting to be claimed by owners.

Obelidhon said that LTO has already implemented various strategies to address this problem. “Sobrang dami na po ng mga replacement plates sa opisina namin [There are heaps of replacement plates waiting to be claimed in the office]. In fact, we are planning to implement measures na i-alarm namin yung sasakyan na hindi kinukuha ang replacement plates nila [we are planning to alarm vehicles whose owners are not claiming their replacement plates],” he said.

“During the renewal of their motor vehicles, during the inspection process, if wala doon ang plates naka-attach then we will require them to claim it first. We are also scheduling a meeting with the dealers to come up with strategies to address this problem,” the offiicial added.

As of September 8, LTO 12 has a total of 316,412 unclaimed plates. Of the total, 272,637 are motorcycle plates, while 43,765 are unclaimed motor vehicle plates.

Vehicle owners are advised to go to the LTO regional office in Koronadal City and bring necessary documents such as the original OR/CR and a valid government-issued ID.

LTO 12 conducts a series of proactive operations to intensify its road safety advocacy campaign and enforcement activities. The agency is sending a strong message that traffic rules and regulations must be strictly followed to maintain order and prevent all sorts of road accidents.
Road safety advocacy

For LTO 12, road safety is a shared responsibility. Obelidhon said LTO is taking the lead in driving the message of safety to all stakeholders.

From January to September 2023, LTO 12 conducted 37 road safety advocacy (RSA) seminars, lectures, and symposiums in different provinces, cities, and municipalities in the region.

Obelidhon said most of these RSA activities have been done in the barangays to further reinforce road safety messages to all stakeholders.

“RSA is a regular program of LTO because of the alarming report of the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, road crashes are not ordinary incidents. It is now considered a health problem because of the number of fatalities, injuries, and damage to property,” he stressed.

The official reminded motorists to always observe road safety precautions and practice defensive driving to minimize road accidents.

Enforcement Activities

LTO 12 has also intensified its enforcement activities through a series of proactive operations. The agency is sending a strong message that traffic rules and regulations must be followed to maintain order and prevent accidents.

“We have a record from our IT provider on the number of motor vehicles that are not renewed. Marami na ang hindi renewed, and we think that another way to solve this problem is to intensify the law enforcement activities of LTO,” Obelidhon explained.

“You can see during operations, ang haba-haba ng pila ng mga sasakyan. Meaning, yung mga saasakyan na nakapark on the side of the road, walang papeles ‘yun or any violations,” he added.

According to Obelidhon, LTO 12 currently has 25 enforcers, and the management is looking for possible ways to add more to help in the operations.

“RD Tomawis is planning for every district to have its own law enforcement personnel to intensify the program,” the official said.

To avoid fines and penalties, LTO advised motorists to make sure to always have their driver’s license, register their vehicles, have their vehicles checked regularly, and make sure all parts are working properly.

LTO advised that motorists should consistently check their “BLOWBAGETS” (brakes, light, oil, water, batteries, air, gas, engine, tires, and self), a must-have habit for all, before using their vehicles. (ORVR -- PIA Region 12)

About the Author

Oliver Ross Rivera


Region 12

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