After my first attempt to renew my LTO Driver’s license and failed, today I pushed myself such that I am at the LTO office at East Avenue at 10:00AM. It’s a Monday and I’m glad that I saw no long lines upon entering the compound.
I was directed by the guard to the renewal section, where a staff assisted me by giving me the form to complete, and instructing me to get my medical certificate at OCNT Clinic. He almost-whisperingly gave the directions towards the clinic, with a soft warning not to mind the people that are approaching by the sidewalk.
Indeed there were lots of people who attempt to coach LTO clients on where to go next, but they do not look like LTO personnel. They’re in ordinary clothes and most of them wear slippers. My advice is to ignore them 100% and walk as though you know where you are going.
I went on outside the compound, as instructed, then walked towards my left (that is, towards EDSA). There are lots of people along the sidewalk. Some were filling out the LTO form for the client, and some are offering their assistance saying, “medical po, dito po.”
Across the first crossing was the pink building, which the personnel instructed me not to go upstairs but go left towards OCNT. A man was so persistent saying that medical is upstairs, and no fee will be collected from his assistance. He was leading the way upstairs but I paused and stopped by in front of a shop at the ground floor of the building, where I bought Zesto juice to assess the situation. OCNT is not readily seen up to this point, and I had to ask the guard where is OCNT. It was on the next building, just adjacent to the pink one which is now really surrounded by “assisters” waiting for their next LTO client. I found out from the guard that in the pink building there are other clinics that administer the medical exam.
I proceeded to OCNT, which appears to be a law firm or notary services center of some sort, and a table is occupied by two “medical”personnel. The guy tested my sight by making me read the chart, while the woman wrote on the receipt and medical certificate. I was done in less than 5 minutes. Oh I almost forgot, I paid Php200 for the piece of paper.
I then walked towards the LTO compound, contemplating on what was going on? Medical certificates are to be issued by LTO-accredited physicians, and there must be a lot of them physicians, including those in the pink building because I saw LTO banners in front of their stalls. It could be that those guys trying to assist me gets something by referring people to one of those physicians, making me now think that the personnel who instructed me to OCNT gets something from OCNT for his referrals.
Upon returning to LTO I filled out the form and indicated the changes that I wanted to do: my name, address, birthday, and status. When I returned the form to the personnel I attached the medical certificate and copy of my birth certificate (for correcting my birthday) and marriage certificate (for changing my surname). The personnel then told me that an Affidavit of Discrepancy is needed, which can be obtained from someone inside a room adjacent to his post. He went inside the room to call the woman, who immediately assisted me on a table outside. A notarized affidavit was ready, and she only needed to fill out the details that I want to be changed, and then I signed. She collected Php 100 for that.
I attached the affidavit to my documents and had them reviewed by the personnel, who finally gave me my number after verifying my requirements.
I was then directed to enter the renewal area, finally an air-conditioned room! This is at 10:58 AM, and the queuing system indicates that client 160 is being served. I’m 178, so it’s gonna be my turn soon having at least 3 windows accommodating clients for the first step. I’m pleased at how things are going, because I was expecting the worst from LTO. Having their ISO certification revoked, and the most common knowledge that it’s been ages since they last issued real license cards (because to date the official receipt serves as the temporary license), and that plate numbers will be available only by the 2nd quarter of 2017!
When my number was called I submitted my documents at Window 3, where my records have been partially updated I think. And then after a while my picture and signature was taken at Window 4. The tellers each have their microphones so everyone’s properly guided behind the glass that separates them from us. I paid Php 517 something at Window 7, and finally had my Official Receipt a.k.a. temporary license from Window 8. I was told to follow up after 3 months to know if the card is ready by then.
At 11:45am I was ready to leave LTO. The process was remarkably alright as I finished my renewal in less than 2 hours. I just have to wait for the actual license in card form.
It is my wish that LTO will rise up from all its failures and bad reputation, and that they be truly that government agency that won’t be called crocodiles.
Update: I was able to get the license (plastic card) on January 25, 2017.