Press Release
November 25, 2015

Clearances to cost drivers P3 B a year - Recto

The 2.1 million professional drivers who renew and apply for a license annually would lose P3 billion in fees and lost income if the requirement to secure a clearance each from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not be permanently scrapped.

This was pointed out by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto in "calling for the scrapping, and not just mere suspension" of the Land Transportation Office's (LTO) order mandating professional drivers to obtain the two clearances as a requisite for the issuance of their licenses.

Upon the prodding of Recto and Senate President Frank Drilon during yesterday's plenary debate on the 2016 budget of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the LTO agreed to freeze the scheme and conduct a review.

"That should give them time to establish interconnectivity between their databases so that drivers won't have to spend time and money lining up for those clearances," Recto said.

Recto has also proposed that the NBI and the PNP just draw up "a negative list" of wanted criminals and furnish this to the LTO.

"The solution can be achieved through file sharing. Why should public information be the subject of commerce?" he stressed.

"Kung may red flag ang pangalan mo, then that's the time that you get a clearance. This way, only those tagged will have to present evidence to the contrary. Hindi yung dalawang milyong tao ang peperwisyuhin mo sa pagkahaba-habang pila para kumuha ng mga clearances," Recto said.

Recto estimates that the number of professional drivers who will apply for new or have their licenses renewed next year will reach 2,180,576.

The cost of an NBI clearance is P115, and a local police clearance, P170.

But before the police issues a clearance, it requires the applicant to present a barangay clearance, which costs P50.

However, a barangay clearance will only be issued if the applicant has a Community Tax Certificate, the average cost of each is P20, Recto said.

The PNP also requires two ID photos of the applicant, which adds P60 to the cost.

"If you add all of this, it will come up to P415. You multiply this with the number of professional drivers, you get almost P1 billion - just on fees alone," Recto said.

Applying for clearances from three offices - Barangay Council, NBI, and PNP - will consume, at the fastest, two days.

"Because one will absent from work to do this, then that's two days' worth of salary gone. That's at least P1,000 down the drain per applicant, or P2 billion in lost income for the affected drivers," Recto said.

Recto said 2,018,976 professional drivers applied for new or had their licenses renewed in 2013, their number growing 2.6 percent annually since 2010.

Recto backed Drilon's proposal for the DOTC to clarify what derogatory information on the required clearances will lead to the rejection of the application and if such will impinge on the privilege of an individual to operate a motor vehicle.

"Tama si Senator Frank ng sinabi nya kung may kaso ka ng libel at hindi ka pa convicted, bakit ka pagkakaitan ng pribilehiyong magmaneho," Recto said.

"If you're an activist and you have a pending case for illegal assembly, I think this shouldn't be made a basis for the rejection of your application to drive," he said.

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