Policy reforms are the favorite sound bites of aspiring politicians every election year. Every new administration also uses the catch phrase to introduce their style of governance in rendering quality and efficient public services.
Policy reforms essentially aim to provide efficient public services, minimize corruption and improve the business and economic environment. They lead to a meaningful economic growth and are indispensable in regaining public trust.
Every government agency strives to create and implement policy reforms but they are easier said than done. Very few government instrumentalities succeed in doing so.
One government agency appears to be scoring well in reforms, with the public giving its thumbs-up sign on its new administrator. Since assuming the top post at the Land Transportation Office in November last year, LTO chief Jay Art Tugade has been introducing one policy reform after another.
His LTO reforms to motorists and car enthusiasts are bringing in significant benefits to the general public. On the area of vehicle registration Tugade has brought LTO to the digital age. His administration made vehicle registration easier―online registration renewal of private motor vehicles is now permitted.
Friends and family attest that registration has been relatively faster and easier. New car owners have also something to rejoice with―Tugade imposed penalties on dealers who fail to register sold vehicles on time.
In so short a time, the new LTO chief has introduced several reforms. He rightfully gave electric vehicles discounts in the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge.
And in these belt-tightening times, who will oppose the removal of the change venue fee of P200 for cars and the periodic medical exam required for a driver’s license? As a five-year license holder, I used to undergo medical clearances every three years from the time my license was issued.
In the area of traffic regulation, LTO digitalized the traffic violation receipts. LTO enforcers now use mobile handheld devices that make it easier to track violations and other similar data for future reforms.
Then there’s the Single Ticketing System. Eleven Metro Manila mayors agreed with LTO that starting May 2, the drivers’ license of traffic violators will no longer be confiscated. They will be, instead, tagged in LTO’s Land Transportation Management System for their corresponding fines.
The Single Ticketing System covers the following common traffic violations: number coding, truck and tricycle bans, illegal parking, overloading, defective motor vehicle accessories, dress code, obstruction and disregarding traffic signs.
Meanwhile, Tugade imposed a price cap on driving schools―P5,000 for light vehicles and P3,500 for motorcycles. The cap follows numerous complaints that driving schools are charging fees ranging from P9,000 to P15,000.
Motorcycle-riding delivery drivers are also benefiting from LTO’s decision to extend the initial registration of motorcycles 200cc and below to three years, while many motorists welcome Tugade’s “Isumbong mo kay Chief” program that allows for a digital complaint and feedback system.
Still in the realm of bringing government services closer to the people, LTO has opened eight offices since Tugade joined the public transportation family half a year ago.
The youngest son of the former transportation secretary is making a name for himself as an action man. He is personally involved in LTO’s anti fixer campaign and has removed LTO personnel and prosecuted fixers.
For its bottom line, LTO earned 18 percent higher during the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2022. That increase is equivalent to P1.2 billion in additional revenue.
More progressive city
The city of Taguig has every right to rejoice these days. The Supreme Court has decided with finality that jurisdiction over Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation, by superior legal rights and historic title, belongs to Taguig.
“The end of this legal dispute marks the beginning of a new chapter for Taguig and its people. Our victory in the courts of law is not merely a vindication of our rights. It is equally a command for us to make good use of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand our brand of committed public service to new constituents. We welcome our new Taguigeños with this solemn promise,” said the Taguig local government in a statement.
“We will work even harder to expand and improve the services we run for our constituents, by introducing new programs and projects. We have the resources to bring about a transformative, lively, and caring city. We will not get tired of doing good, for we are assured that in time we will have a harvest.”
Taguig vowed to work on the transition without hampering public service. “Towards this end, we shall work hand in hand with our good neighbor, the City of Makati. We will forge ahead in assuming new responsibilities, conscious that the benefits of this monumental legal victory should redound to all the barangays of Taguig and to all sectors of the city,” it said.
The SC’s Special Third Division denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Makati City government seeking the reversal of its December 1, 2021 favoring the Taguig City government in the territorial dispute case.
“Considering the historical evidence adduced, cadastral surveys submitted, and the contemporaneous acts of lawful authorities, we find that Taguig presented evidence that is more convincing and worthier of belief than proffered by Makati. Consequently, we rule that Taguig has a superior claim to the disputed areas,” the SC said.