LTO warns clinics that sell 'no-show' and fake medical certificates

LTO warns clinics that sell 'no-show' and fake medical certificates
Photo show of Land Transportation Office.
Philstar.com / Irish Lising

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Office on Wednesday warned doctors and medical clinics it has accredited for license transactions that those caught selling medical certificates and "no-show" examinations may be suspended or clsoed down.

This came after the office received reports that certain medical clinics and doctors issue medical certificates to driver’s license applicants without any actual physical examination.

"My marching orders to all regional and district offices nationwide was to weed out corruption not only in LTO offices themselves but also those in accredited partners like medical clinics, whose services are part of the process for securing driver’s licenses," LTO chief Jay Art Tugade said in a statement sent to reporters Wednesday morning.

The LTO reminded motorists that the medical certificate is "a vital part of the driver’s license application process to determine if the applicant is fit to operate a motor vehicle" and should not be skipped.

Because of the perception that transactions with the LTO take too much time and paperwork, some Filipinos opt to deal with "fixers" who will speed up processing of driver's license applications and renewals, and motor vehicle registration.

"We continue to remind the public that a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle is not a right but a privilege granted by the government. No one should circumvent the process in the issuance of a driver’s license, and the job of the LTO is to make sure that it is issued only to qualified drivers as part of promoting road safety," the LTO chief said.

Tugade, the son of former transportation secretary Arthur Tugade, said he is issuing the warning after an LTO-accredited clinic in Bacolod City was slapped with a 60-day suspension order by LTO Region 6 for issuing too many medical certificates in a single day.

LTO catches clinic in the act

The closure order was given after the LTO's Regional Assessment and Compliance Monitoring Team in Western Visayas reported that the clinic issued as many as 186 medical certificates in one day.

In response, the office issued a show-cause order was issued against the medical clinic to explain why it issued a  "statistically improbable" number of medical certificates.

The clinic’s management, through its legal counsel, explained that it usually experiences a large volume of clients daily with some lining up as early as 6.30 a.m.

To confirm this, an RACMT member went to the clinic "and posed as a client and tried to secure a medical certificate."

"The poseur-client saw that there were only a few people at the clinic and was surprised at how fast the certificate was issued, complete with the stamped name and signature of the accredited doctor even without a physical examination, which is in violation of LTO Memorandum Circular 2018-2157," the LTO said.  

This prompted LTO Region 6 to issue a Notice of Violation/Cease-and-Desist Order for both the clinic and the doctor whose stamped name and signature appeared in the medical certificate. Aside from closure, the Medical Clinic was also deactivated from the LTO IT system.

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