Solon seeks suspension of mandatory driving course requirement

Published July 24, 2020, 12:42 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

A veteran lawmaker is calling for the suspension of a Land Transportation Office (LTO) directive requiring student driver permit applicants as well as those renewing their driver’s license to undergo a mandatory driving course from private driving schools.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said such directive from the agency “basically provides for the accreditation of driving institutions,” making them centers of profit at the expense of the people.

“It would seem that there are many problems that would result from the implementation of the memorandum circular and it will only be an additional financial burden to and time consuming for the Filipino people,” he said.

Rodriguez’s appeal is contained in House Resolution (HR) No. 1045, in which he called for the suspension of the implementation of LTO Memorandum Circular No. 2019-2176 that will be effective in 10 days on Aug. 3.

He said the LTO issuance provides that student driver permit applicants go through a “theoretical” 15-hour driving course, while all others renewing driver’s license are required to undergo an eight-hour driving enhancement program.

Rodriguez added that renewal applicants with demerits are also asked to finish the same program of varying hours depending on their demerit points.

“The requirement for a student permit applicant will cost about P3,000 to P5,000 for a theoretical and actual driving course from a private driving school. These amounts will also be spent by all of us drivers when renewing our driver’s license by requiring us to undergo driving enhancement program even if we have no violations on our records,” he noted.

He pointed out that if the LTO is determined to require such training, it should be the one offering these courses free of charge and only to those renewing their driver’s license with demerit points for violation of traffic rules.

Republic Act (RA) No. 10930, otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, “does not provide that the LTO will accredit external private driving schools and it is common knowledge that these driving schools are there to make money,” the Mindanao solon said.

He said the implementation of the LTO circular is “even more burdensome to people in far-flung areas who need a driver’s license and who will have to travel to a private driving institution in the city and pay exorbitant amounts just to have a student permit and to renew their drivers’ license.”