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New LTO chief vows end to license backlog

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Roberto Cabrera is confident of resolving the agency’s legal problems as well as the backlog in the delivery of car plates and license cards within the last six months of the Aquino administration.

In a telephone interview, Cabrera told The STAR the LTO’s problems are “very, very ripe” and, like “fruits, are ready for picking.”

Cabrera begins his stint as LTO chief tomorrow.

Before his appointment as LTO chief, Cabrera was executive director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

He said he would face the problems head on with the help of the President, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and even his predecessor, Alfonso Tan Jr.

With his “best efforts,” Cabrera vowed to address concerns raised against his agency, including allegations of irregularities in some contracts.

“We have problems with the driver’s licenses, we have problems with the insurance, these I want resolved,” he said.

“So far, I feel confident that with the help of the government, the President, the DOTC and everyone there, including the outgoing Asec. Tan, hopefully it would be resolved,” he added.

Cabrera, an environmental concerns advocate, also said he would push for environment friendly projects as well as boost road safety programs at the LTO.

Cabrera said he wants to meet with Tan “to get everything working.”

He said he also wishes to touch base with personnel and heads of agencies, especially the legal division.

“If I can go out of my way and talk to these agencies or be abreast of what is happening from the legal division of the LTO, then we will make solutions,” he said.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told The STAR on Friday Tan resigned in November due to family concerns.

Sources, however, said Tan quit after being overwhelmed by controversies bedeviling the LTO. An insider said Tan resigned because he did not want to be blamed for LTO’s failures.

With Tan’s resignation, the numerous problems besetting the LTO are now on Cabrera’s lap.

One of the major legal problems of the LTO was the Manila regional trial court (RTC)’s stopping the award and payment of the driver’s license card supply contract to Allcard Philippines Inc.

The Commission on Audit (COA) also ordered the LTO to stop the license plate deal with Dutch-Filipino consortium PPI-JKG Philippines Inc. for violation of procedures prescribed under Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The LTO said it has coordinated with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to challenge COA’s and the Manila RTC’s orders.

Earlier, the LTO caved in to public pressure and suspended an administrative order requiring public utility drivers to submit clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) before they can get their driver’s license. 

Before he takes his oath before Abaya, Cabrera said he hopes to have his last flag raising ceremony at the LTFRB so he can bid farewell to his former subordinates.

Cabrera was a practicing lawyer before he was appointed LTFRB executive director in February 2013.  

Meanwhile, LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said Cabrera’s promotion “will be a good opportunity for the LTO and the LTFRB” to work together in enforcing transportation laws.

Ginez said he would make an endorsement to Abaya for the appointment of Cabrera’s replacement at the LTFRB.

“I will submit names to Sec. Abaya and he will be the one to make the selection,” he said, but declined to give names.

LTFRB member Ariel Inton said that Glen Zaragosa temporarily takes over Cabrera’s position.

ABAYA

ACIRC

ALFONSO TAN JR.

ALLCARD PHILIPPINES INC

ARIEL INTON

CABRERA

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

FRIDAY TAN

GLEN ZARAGOSA

GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT REFORM ACT

LTO

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