LTO sees CA ruling on plastic cards out this January

By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

January 24, 2024, 10:04 pm

<p>LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II<em> (PNA file photo)</em></p>

LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Wednesday said the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) on the lifting of the injunction against the delivery of plastic cards for driver’s licenses will be released within the month.

In a press conference at the LTO headquarters in Quezon City, LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II said the fastest way to replenish the LTO’s dwindling supply of plastic cards, which is set to be depleted by the end of the month, is for the CA to lift the preliminary injunction.

“My understanding is, baka ma-submit na for decision within this month, itong nasa CA (My understanding is, they may submit the decision within the month, the one at the CA),” Mendoza said.

The CA would decide whether to lift or uphold the writ of preliminary injunction issued by a Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in October last year that temporarily suspended the delivery of plastic cards to the LTO.

The injunction was issued following a petition by the LTO’s previous plastic card supplier Allcard Inc. after it lost the plastic card contract with the LTO to Banner Plasticard Inc.

“Once i-release yung decision, maybe bukas magkaroon ang CA dito sana, immediately the supplier can supply cards to us. Wala ng testing kasi na-testing na yan dati (Once the decision is released, maybe tomorrow the CA will have something on this, immediately the supplier can supply cards to us. There will be no need for further testing because it has already been done previously),” he said.

Once lifted, he said a total of 3.3 million plastic cards will be delivered and distributed nationwide—half of the 6.6 million a year, or 550,000 per month, plastic cards needed by the LTO.

However, Mendoza said other means of obtaining more plastic cards are ongoing such as the agency-to-agency supply deal for 6 million plastic cards and the donation of 4 million plastic cards from a private donor.

If the injunction is not lifted, he said another option is securing the supply from a government printing agency, or an agency-to-agency deal, for 6 million plastic cards that can be delivered as soon as testing requirements are completed.

“Hindi ko lang masabi kung February or March. Pero that's the timeline that we're looking at (I couldn’t say if it’s by February or March. But that’s the timeline we’re looking at),” he said.

Mendoza said the offer to donate 4 million plastic cards will take longer as it needs to go through the same testing process as the agency-to-agency deal, but instead of being available immediately, it will have to be ordered first before delivery to the LTO.

“Both sides are waiting for the guidelines, para malinaw (for things to be clear). There's no 4 million cards to speak of, it's still to be ordered,” he said.

He added that the initial contract for the donation of 4 million cards has been canceled by the LTO as it needed to be revised.

“It's not like we canceled the donation, it's still on the table, kailangan lang pag-aralan ng mabuti kung pano natin gagawin ito (we just need to study how we’re going to do this),” he said.

If plastic cards do run out, Mendoza said the validity of expiring driver’s licenses is automatically extended until April.

“I don't see us extending that. I strongly believe, given the options on the table, that we will have cards immediately,” he said.

Last week, Mendoza said there were around 270,000 plastic cards left in LTO offices nationwide that will be used up by the end of the month.

On average, the LTO uses 550,000 plastic cards per month. (PNA)