Great strides at the lto offices in Region 7

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - June 6, 2019 - 12:00am

While I was in London at the Buckingham Palace, it was the place where there were a lot of tourists and people. Then we took the hop-on, hop-off tour bus to St. Paul’s Cathedral when I realized that I left my wallet inside the bus… and went back to my seat right away. My fellow passengers even helped scour the seats and found nothing. It was then I realized that my wallet was picked and my last stop was Buckingham Palace, which was teeming with tourists, and I guess pickpockets. I lost $500 and my license and senior card. But I placed my credit cards in a different bag. This was the first and only time my pocket was picked.

When I got back home in Cebu, I got an affidavit of loss and went to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in SM Seaside and had a little complication. That my other IDs had my birthdate 1951 correctly, but my driver’s license was dated 1949. Honestly I got my license changing my date of birth because LTO at that time didn’t care to check it. How things have truly changed in LTO today. They would not give me a copy of my license unless I had my dates corrected. Since I had my NSO paper because of our visa applications for Europe…all that the LTO asked was to viber it to their office and voila! I was done getting my new license in 45 minutes!

I have to give credit to my good friends, then acting LTO Director Alita Pulga who is now in Manila and current LTO Regional Director Vic Caindec for making the changes in LTO that we have long asked for. Because of their total computerization… LTO in Region-7 finally got rid of the age-old fixers who will get your drivers license for a fee. Well, not anymore. LTO has satellite offices in SM City, SM Seaside and Mactan Island Mall in Lapu-Lapu City and Robinson’s Galleria in Cebu City. Now this is what is called “convenience,” but more importantly our drivers have finally seen the changes that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte promised the Filipino people to see.

When I was head of the Traffic Division or CITOM in Cebu City way back in 2000, the LTO Regional Office was beside the CITOM office and it was convenient for traffic officials to meet up next door. But when Vic Caindec was appointed LTO Regional Director-7 he had a verbal tussle with Mayor Tomas Osmeña who literally asked the LTO to move out of its offices, which is owned by Cebu City. That forced LTO to move into satellite offices that we see in Cebu today. Today LTO has offices in SM City, SM Seaside, Robinson’s Galleria and Mactan Island Mall in Lapu-Lapu City. But the best thing that ever happened to the LTO today is that their computerization removed the infamous “fixers” who for many decades made their business with LTO. Thanks again to LTO today!

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When Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was in Tokyo, aside from his speech to have Smartmatic removed by the Comelec… the President said that he hoped that the Philippines would be like Japan, and he mentioned about having a parliamentary type of government. Actually, five years ago we created the National Transition Council (NTC) when the presidency of Benigno Aquino III showed signs of incompetence. This group was composed of members of the academe, former Cabinet officials, media and the first meeting was called by his eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal at the University of San Carlos in Talamban.

In many of our meetings, it was very clear that the group wanted a federal system. I came up with a proposal to follow the federal-parliamentary system of Germany, which was established in 1949. Germany’s parliament was called the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. Pres. Duterte apparently wants a federal system with a unicameral legislature and the system that we proposed is to create a group similar to the Bundesrat, to replace the Senate. They are all the regional or state governors who would become our Senators except that they no longer make laws, but look into the laws that the Congress or our Bundestag make.

This way… we would have a Senators group that represents the entire Philippine states. But they do not meet everyday… but one week in a month. Congress will remain the same. I know that some groups already have their own federal form of government, but it is mostly federal-presidential just like America. But look at the list of the 20 most well-governed nations on earth and only America is federal-presidential so I dare say that the time is ripe for Pres. Duterte to move the Philippines into this system of governance.

This is what I meant for Pres. Duterte not to waste his last three years as President and for him to institute a true political reform in this country to make our political system mature and free from decades of using the same faulty system despite our many proofs that the system is no longer working for the Filipino people. The time to change has come and the time is now!

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