Good news, bad news at LTO Davao
From afar, I’ve been hearing the Land Transportation Office Davao Central Office saying they have been working on an ISO 9000 accreditation for its office systems and service delivery.
Wow, this is indeed good news considering the reputation of LTO offices in general for fixers, long queues, and alleged red tape. To think of it, LTO officials and personnel hold in their hands the power to regulate millions of vehicle drivers around the country who risk Filipinos of lives and properties everyday due to road accidents. License is power.
I went there last Thursday to accompany a friend renew his license, and also to see for myself how this buzz about ISO certification is changing the landscape.
I’ve talked to three people seated outside buildings in the heat of the afternoon sun waiting for their turn to transact business. They said the process is much systematic now compared before, with reference to a year or two ago. Officials, too, pitched on the process of renewal and improvement in the agency. Good news!
Then I looked outside. Suddenly, the sight of a young driver caught my attention. He was sweating while maneuvering a small truck inside the compound trying to evade a road sign. He almost hit the other clients standing by the open space. Somebody, who was an LTO employee I later realized, was giving instructions.
Then I realized I was looking at an actual driving test. The driver, who was applying for a professional license. was asked to demonstrate some of 32 driving skills to gain a clearance.
At first I thought it was an amazing scene — exposing such a test in public. It was a live show in front of unsuspecting publics inside the LTO’s compound along Quimpo Boulevard.
But somebody made me realize it was the bad news. The city does not have a driving range for drive tests- an important step in securing a driver’s license.
I found out later that almost all regions in the country do not have driving ranges for these tests. All the while, applicants are made to drive test along the highway, accompanied by the “driving skills examiner.”
But LTO personnel said it is risky for both applicant and examiner.
When Davao’s Bangkerohan bridge was closed to traffic more than a month ago, drive tests in the city have since been held inside the LTO compound. LTO personnel deny it would affect the quality of thier exams. At the same time say they cannot check if all the skills and salient driving competencies, like obeying traffic rules, could be monitored in the “makeshift” driving range that is the compound’s parking space.
This appeared to me an alarming state for the government’s land transportion regulatory function.
What do you think?