June 24, 2024

■  Rimaliza A. Opiña 

Drivers who were caught violating city ordinances but who are able to continue driving or have even renewed their licenses because their offense is not recorded in the database of the Land Transportation Office will not be able to run away from obligation once the city government of Baguio signs up in the Land Transportation Office Interconnectivity Project.

With an interconnected system, Project Chair Noreen Bernadette San Luis-Lutey said traffic violations, whether a national law or ordinance, will be included in the driver’s record.

Lutey was invited to the city council’s session on May 13 to explain the LGU-LTO Interconnectivity Project.

The project requires the city council to authorize the mayor to sign a memorandum of agreement for the project to commence.

Salient points in the agreement include data sharing, data privacy, retention of fines in the coffers of the LGU, and professionalization of traffic enforcers by the LGU.

With the adoption of the 10-year validity period of driver’s licenses, Lutey said it is imperative for the LTO to strictly implement traffic and transportation laws, including ordinances to instill discipline among drivers.

In Republic Act 10930, a driver’s license is valid for 10 years. Drivers who incur 40 “demerits” or violations during the license’s validity will be grounds for revocation of the license.

Those with less than 40 violations will be required to undergo a seminar before renewal and validity of the license will be shortened to five years.

Lutey said traffic enforcers will use a device containing the traffic violations. Upon apprehension, the enforcer only needs to tick the violation/s committed, input the name of the driver, and this will be electronically transmitted in the LTO database.

In case a driver contests the citation, Lutey suggested for the city council to amend the Traffic Code and include a section on adjudication where like other LGUs, online, summary hearings may be conducted.

Lutey said advantages of having a complete record of a driver’s traffic citations include assurance that the driver will pay fines and/or penalties because non-payment will show in their record and can be grounds for non-renewal of license; less chance of bribing a traffic enforcer as the license need not be confiscated; and payment of fines may be done remotely using a credit card, e-wallet, and at accredited payment centers. 

If the mayor signs the MOA, Baguio will be the third LGU outside the National Capital Region to sign the LGU-LTO Interconnectivity Project.

The city council said it might authorize the mayor to sign the MOA but asked to be given time to review the draft MOA and for the traffic enforcers of the Traffic and Transportation Management Division to adopt the system.