It was supposed to pave the way for fast and easy transactions at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) through its digital platform but as far as some of those who already tried the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) are concerned, it is a case of ideal expectations but with different outcomes in reality.
Complaints of slower than usual transactions continue to hound the LTMS—an online platform that caters to almost all transactions and processes in the LTO that include appointment and application system, the driver’s licensing system and motor vehicle registration.
Senator Grace Poe already called out the LTO after receiving reports that a number of drivers were having difficulties accessing to the LTMS portal amid the Covid-19 pandemic when face-to-face transactions are supposed to be limited.
In Baguio City for instance, long lines have been reported at the LTO office reportedly due to the slow processing of documents under the new system. The same was experienced in some LTO offices where slow internet connectivity remains a challenge.
Companies catering to vehicle insurance were reported to have experienced difficulties in uploading data to the LTMS.
In an interview, Jun Bonsol, officer-in-charge of the LTO’s Management Information Division, admitted that access to LTMS portal and the processes in securing driver’s license and the vehicle registration and renewal are indeed slow but explained that these were all part of the birth pangs of using a new system.
“We acknowledge that these are indeed happening but these are part of challenges of using a new system. We are still currently on the transition period (from old system to LTMS) so we are appealing for understanding,” Bonsol told the Manila Bulletin.
“But we assure the public that these challenges is only limited to the time when they first use the system. Once they are registered in the system, everything will be easy and fast in the ensuing transactions with the LTO because the information that they would input will be permanent in the system,” he added.
Based on their projection, Bonsol said the longest transaction at the LTO through the LTMS is at 15 to 20 minutes.
He said that so far, 95 percent of LTO offices are using the LTMS.
The implementation of the LTMS was hounded by controversies since its inception, including the delay in securing the deliverables of the online platform which was raised during a budget hearing at the House of Representatives.
The multi-billion project was awarded in 2018 to a foreign IT contractor and three other companies.
Aside from the delays that was raised during a budget hearing, the Commission on Audit noted that the extension given by the LTO for the compliance of the LTMS deliverables resulted in undue payments to its contractor that were disadvantageous to the government.
The same report also advised the LTO to consider halting the application of the system outside of the 22 identified pilot areas until the reported glitches are ironed out.
Bonsol, however, said that all the concerns raised by the Commission on Audits in its reports were already addressed by the LTO from last quarter of the 2021 to the first quarter of this year.
“We already explained everything to COA, including the compliance on the documentary requirements and the explanation o the hardship in dealing with the issues because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Bonsol.
Amid these issues, the LTO remains undaunted in fully implementing the LTMS, saying the new system also focuses on keeping the road safe by ensuring the road worthiness of the vehicles and in ensuring that only qualified drivers would hit the roads.
Bonsol said that while they recognized that internet connectivity is a challenge in the LTMS implementation, they are finding ways to improve the system by connecting them to fiber optics that are already being installed by telecom firms in areas with internet problems.
The LTO also promised to continue enhancing the system in response to the order of Department of Transportation Sec. Art Tugade that digital transactions is necessary in the government and should become the new normal.
Among them are the continuous trainings of LTO personnel to fully adapt to the new system and continuous monitoring of the implementation to iron out all the glitches.