LTO Chief Jose Arturo Tugade (left) during the press conference on April 20.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced on Thursday that it will issue provisional driver’s licenses on paper due to a shortage of plastic cards for printing licenses.

LTO Chief Jose Arturo Tugade explained in a press conference on April 20 that the remaining inventory of plastic cards may only last until the last week of April.

Tugade acknowledged that the card supply issue is not limited to a specific location and is a nationwide problem, although some offices in Metro Manila still have cards. He further explained that the LTO had been aware of the problem since November 15 of the previous year but faced procurement challenges.

“As of today, merong tayong mga offices na wala ng driver’s license (As of today, we have offices that no longer have driver’s licenses available),” Tugade said.

Tugade said that if drivers renew their licenses at an office where plastic cards are not available, they will be given a printout of the official receipt (OR) of their driver’s license. The temporary permit will have a QR code attached to it, and on the back, it will contain the driver’s license information that should have been printed on a plastic card.

“Kapag sila ay nag-renew sa isang office at wala na pong plastic cards doon, bibigyan po sila ng printout ng OR (official receipt) ng kanilang driver’s license, tapos sa likod po noon [ay] ‘yung driver’s license na should have been printed out on a plastic card for them (When they renew their driver’s license at an office and there are no plastic cards available, they will be given a printout of the official receipt (OR) of their driver’s license, and the back of it will have the driver’s license information that should have been printed on a plastic card for them),” he said.

“Iyon po yung panghahawakan po muna ng driver habang wala pa po ‘yung plastic card (That will serve as the temporary permit for the driver while the plastic card is not yet available),” he added.

Tugade said that in January, when they were ready to procure the licenses, they received a department order instructing that all procurement involving P50 million and above shall be conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Central Office. The total budget for the procurement is P240 million.

Meanwhile, the DOTr said in a statement that it is actively working toward being granted permission to acquire a portion of the total quantity of license cards that are required by the LTO.

The terms of reference (TOR) that were filed by the LTO at the end of March are now being reviewed by the Bids and Awards Committee of the department to find a method that is more efficient, effective, and cost-effective for the acquisition of license cards.

The DOTr expects to acquire sufficient license cards before the supply runs out and while the TOR is being updated so that the tendering process for the supply can proceed without hitches.