Excessive charges for motorcycle franchises and student drivers’ licenses will be things of the past once Partido Reporma presidential candidate Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III get the people’s mandate following the May 9 national elections.
In a forum with tricycle operators and drivers association (TODA) groups in Candelaria, Quezon, the presidential bet said it was possible for local government units to absorb the cost of Motorized Tricycle Operator’s Permit (MTOP) for its residents as one town – General Trias City in Lacson’s home province of Cavite – was already doing it out of its existing funds.
An average MTOP license costs about P670.00, which includes the P300.00 motorcycle franchise fee paid once every three years; P100.00 regulatory fee paid annually; a P75.00 provisional permit fee paid every three months; and other one-time fees for MTOP filing, inspection, permit, and fare adjustment.
Lacson and Sotto also decried the corruption involved in securing student permits for drivers, which “fixers” in government agencies had pegged as high as P5,000 a license just so Filipinos can legally take their vehicles on the roads to gain driving experience before applying for a professional driver’s license.
The Partido Reporma standard-bearer noted that General Trias was covering MTOP costs without funding support from the national government, which would change once Lacson implements his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) platform as the country’s 17th President.
The BRAVE program aims to give town and city governments across the country at least P100 million a year to spend on their own plans and projects, apart from P1 billion for each province and P5 million for each barangay, so LGUs finally won’t have to beg for funds from the national government yearly.
“Ganito po ‘yan, ano? Galing kami sa Cavite. Noong kami’y nandoon sa General Trias, napag-alaman namin doon sa national government, alam niyo ba libre ang prangkisa. Sagot ng local government,” Lacson explained to Renato Obligar, president of a TODA group in Candelaria during the forum.
[This is how it is, OK? We came from Cavite (on a campaign sortie), we were in General Trias. We learned from the national government there that (motorcycle) franchise fees were free. The local government was paying for it.]
“Hindi ko binibigyang sisi ‘yung local government dito. Ang sinasabi ko lamang sapat ‘yung pera ng bayan, ‘yung kaban ng bayan para ‘yung simpleng – ‘yung halaga na babayaran niyo sa prangkisa pwede palang ilibre kasi nagagawa sa ibang lugar,” the three-term senator added.
[I am not blaming the local government here (in Candelaria). What I’m saying is the country has enough money, the town’s coffers have enough for – the amount that you’re paying for a franchise could be shouldered because other towns are doing it.]
As for student or professional licenses, drivers from Lucena City, which also attended the Candelaria forum, complained to the Lacson-Sotto duo that many in their ranks were running “colorum” and driving their public utility vehicles (PUV) without a valid license owing to the steep cost of acquiring one.
They asked the veteran senators what they could do about it as President and Vice President.
Sotto said drivers’ licenses should be regulated along with their fees, and that it was plainly wrong that someone with a student’s license should go out and drive a PUV and then get involved in a fatal accident, citing a similar recent incident with a bus driver in Tanay, Rizal.
Lacson then said drivers clearly weren’t consulted when the current system was put in place, as he said the Land Transportation Office recently ordered that Filipinos must go through driving school before being issued a professional drivers’ license.
If that is the case, the fees to go through driving school and to acquire a drivers’ license must also be regulated, the former national police chief said, while denouncing another complaint by the local TODA group that they were being issued official receipts for P2,500 when they paid P5,000 to a fixer for a mere student’s license.