By August 3, 2020, driving permits and first-time driver's license applicants will be required to take a 15-hour driving theory course before they are allowed to drive motor vehicles. That's according to LTO Memorandum Circular No. 2019-2176, which also includes those who need to renew their licenses. These applicants must provide proof that they have completed the required number of hours before being allowed to apply or renew their license or permit.
While the program intends to make the next generation of drivers more educated, these programs will come at an added cost. This is why one Congressman recently wrote to the Department of Transport (DOTr) secretary Arthur Tugade to put that plan on hold in the meantime. The letter came from Rufus Rodriguez, the representative of the second district of Cagayan de Oro City
In his letter, the representative raised three points on why the driving seminars and tests should not be implemented right now. First, he said that these tests and seminars must be free to ease the financial burden on the people. Given that the country isn't the healthiest in terms of economy, it could be said that Rodriguez raises a valid point.
The second matter he raised is the inconvenience for some to find an LTO facility to apply for a permit or license. He mentioned that there will be applicants living in far-flung places and will have to travel far just to find the closest LTO center and “pay an exorbitant amount” to obtain a license. This point can be related to the first one too since commuting from one place to another isn't free after all.
Lastly, he suggested to Sec. Arthur Tugade that those with clean licenses (no traffic violations) shouldn't have to undergo the driving theory course. Again, this is to ease the financial burden on motorists during these difficult times.
Rodriguez isn't suggesting to scrap the seminars and courses altogether. He is in favor of the program, stating “I see the need for first-time applicants to undergo a theoretical and actual driving course”. He recommends studying the matter first, and/or find ways to make it free for applicants before its implementation.
The question now is this: should the driving seminars be implemented as soon as possible, or is it something that can be put on hold for now? There are more urgent matters at the moment (see: pandemic), so it could be said that putting these laws into action isn't of the highest priority. At the same time, driver education is something that should not be overlooked. We call out motorists who break rules or unknowingly drive dangerously, so it's about time more attention is given to the driving standards in the country.