A bicameral committee has ratified the bill extending driver's license validity to five years on Wednesday, May 31 2017. Next step is to send the bill will to Malacanang for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature or veto.

The enactment of the measure is necessary to amend the present law and institutionalize such policy since Administrative Order No. 2016-34 issued by the Land Transportation Office that prescribes five-year validity for drivers' licenses cannot amend the law as provided under Republic Act 4136 (Land Transport Code).

Under the bill, motorists with professional or non-professional driver's licenses who do not violate any traffic rule or regulations during the five-year validity period will be entitled to renewal of their license for an additional five years, making the license valid for 10 years.

"We passed this measure to incentivize our drivers, cut red tape, and make it easier to apply for a license; in return for the privilege, they need to follow the law and be qualified in order to get the full advantage that this law will bestow upon them," said Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.

Congress, Senate approve driver's license validity extension

The ratified report is a combination of Senate Bill No. 1449 and House Bill No. 5648. In order to curb corruption in the LTO, the bill also mandates that any public officer found guilty of gross negligence will be removed from service. Applicants caught using falsified documents, bribing an officer or attempting to illegally obtain a driver’s license shall be fined Php 20,000 and disqualified from getting a license for two years.

Another provision of the new law will penalize drivers with a four (4) year revocation of their license if they are found negligent in an incident causing death or physical injuries to victims.

It also provides that an online process for the renewal of professional and non-professional licenses should be up and running wihtin a year of effectivity of the law. However, the initial application must be done in person at LTO offices nationwide.

Senate to make sure IRR will be realistic and practical

In the meantime, the Senate is taking measures to make sure that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the bill will be realistic and practical.

"We will work closely with the LTO (Land Transportation Office) so that their implementing rules will be reasonable not like the case of the other one," said Poe.

As the sponsor of the bill, Poe said that her committee is currently waiting for the LTO to draft the IRR and indicate the conditions that will disqualify a driver for driver’s license renewal.