The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has warned accredited doctors and clinics that issue medical certificates to driver’s license applicants without a physical examination, or “no show,” to stop or face closure.

The stern warning was issued on Wednesday by newly appointed LTO chief Jose Arturo Tugade in response to reports that some physicians and clinics are issuing certificates even though applicants aren’t showing up for the required physical examination to obtain their driver’s licenses.

“My marching orders to all regional and district offices nationwide was to weed out corruption not only in LTO offices themselves but also those in accredited partners like medical clinics, whose services are part of the process for securing driver’s licenses or motor vehicle registration,” Tugade said in a statement his office released.

He explained that a medical certificate is an essential component of the driver’s application process because it helps determine whether or not the applicant is healthy enough to operate a motor vehicle.

Tugade reminded the public that acquiring a driver’s license is not a right but rather a privilege that is granted by the government.

“No one should circumvent the process in the issuance of a driver’s license, and the job of the LTO is to make sure that it is issued only to qualified drivers as part of promoting road safety,” the LTO chief added.

In Palawan, LTO District Office administrative aide IV Jhona Serna told Palawan News that there are four clinics in Puerto Princesa that are accredited to issue medical certificates. To date, all of them issue certificates contingent on a physical examination of applicants.

“Sa ngayon, wala naman kaming napansin na irregularity. Dito naman ang transactions namin nasa 100 lang, minsan di pa umaabot kasi ang mga clinics dito apat lang na operational,” she said.

She added that the figure is for all types of transactions requiring medical certificates, such as student’s permit and renewal.

In response to Tugade’s warning, Serna stated that they will soon hold a meeting to ensure that clinics serving those in need conduct physical examinations accurately and in accordance with health safety procedures.

In Bacolod City, a medical clinic was suspended for 60 days by the LTO Region 6 for issuing 186 medical certificates in a single day, according to Tugade. It was also deactivated from the transportation office’s IT system.

The medical clinic was given a show-cause order due to the “statistically improbable” nature of the circumstance. Through its legal counsel, it contended that a lot of clients come every day, and that many of them line up as early as 6:30 a.m.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.