LTO Driver's License Article Header

On Wednesday, May 3, DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista announced that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is enlisting the help of the National Printing Office (NPO) to manufacture plastic driver's license cards, with the goal of reducing costs and expediting the release process.

According to The Philippine STAR, Bautista stated that the NPO has agreed to create five million plastic driver's license cards to be sent to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) within 60 days as part of the agreement.

During a meeting between Bautista and NPO director Carlos Bathan at the DOTr main office last Tuesday, discussions regarding the emergency agency-to-agency procurement took place. Bautista provided Bathan with the terms of reference (TOR), and Bathan agreed to present the final proposal before the end of the week.

The reason why the DOTr is tapping the NPO for printing is because of an ongoing shortage of blank plastic cards for driver’s licenses. In the previous month, LTO head, Jose Arturo Tugade, expressed concern that the agency would exhaust its supply of plastic cards by the end of April due to the procurement delay, which LTO officials attributed to the DOTr directive. 

National Printing Office

On top of that, metal license plates for vehicles and motorcycles are also about to run out announcing near the end of April that the agency anticipates a shortage of license plates in June and July since the agency currently has less than 3,000 blank plates for cars and 735,000 for motorcycles.

Before this agreement was made between the DOTr and the NPO, procurement of the plastic cards was fast-tracked in March and April. On March 21 of this year, the LTO provided the DOTr with the initial terms of reference (TOR) for the license card bidding process. After reviewing the TOR and holding two pre-procurement conferences with the DOTr’s central bids and awards committee on March 27 and 29, the DOTr released the bidding documents on April 4. Subsequently, a pre-bidding conference was conducted on April 12.

However, due to uproar about the allegedly “preferential” terms of reference prepared by the LTO, the aforementioned incident triggered a review of the TOR "to foster competition and encourage numerous potential bidders to submit the most appropriate and beneficial bid."

Alternatively, the NPO could manufacture the plastic license cards via a direct agreement between the two government agencies, bypassing the need for public bidding. Last Wednesday, the DOTr chose this option and officially announced that the NPO would print five million driver’s licenses within 60 days. 

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