The cost of getting a driver’s license in the country is now 15 times higher than the P585 that the Land Transportation Office actually charges for a license fee, prompting Pampanga Rep. Anna York Bondoc to file House Resolution No. 751 asking Congress to investigate what caused the excessive cost of a driver’s license in the country.
A news article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer revealed that Maria Luz Dabu, a government employee, spent P11,335 to get a driver’s license, which she finally received in March 2022.
Dabu first applied for a student permit that required her to enroll in a private driving school for a 5-hour theoretical driving course (TDC) worth P2,500. Upon submitting a permit showing she passed the exam, she paid P100 application fee and P150 student permit fee to the LTO. She also submitted a medical certificate that cost P500.
After a few months, she converted her student permit to a nonprofessional driver’s license, which has a validity of 5 years. This entailed her paying P6,800 to enroll in a mandatory 8-hour practical driving course (PDC) and P600 for another medical certificate. To the LTO, she paid an application fee of P500 and a license fee of P585.
“This is antipoor” said Rep. Bondoc, adding that she learned the rates when she helped three employees in her flower shop get their drivers’ licenses.
Majority of the cost involved in securing a new driver’s license comes from the amounts charged by driving schools for the TDC and PDC, which the LTO used to conduct at no cost until 2016, when driving schools were engaged to educate drivers. Under the current setup, the LTO accredits the school but does not regulate the fees.
In November 2021, some senators questioned the new requirement, which according to Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, could be “another source of red tape and harassment.”
Unfortunately, despite the substantial increase in the cost securing of a driver’s license, there doesn’t seem to be a commensurate increase in the quality of drivers produced by the new system. Perhaps the LTO should look deeper into how to make the driver’s license more affordable, but at the same time continue striving to improve the quality of the new drivers in the system.*