The subject of homeowners associations (HOA) and their respective security agencies and guards requiring that a visitor driving into a village surrender his or her valid license is a touchy one.

HOAs tend to flex a lot of power on the matter and so do some guards, with some even denying entry if they don't get to secure a visitor's license. Sometimes there are heated arguments; on that one, I speak from personal experience.

Now the Philippine National Police's (PNP) unit tasked with the management of security agencies has stepped in and made it clear: the security agencies and guards attached to villages, subdivisions, condominiums are not authorized to take and hold on to our driver's licenses.

PNP to village, condo guards: you may not take custody of driver

In a memorandum, the PNP's Civil Security Group (CSG) and its sub-unit, the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA), have directed security agencies and security guards that fall under their umbrella that they may not “take custody, even on a temporary basis, the license issued by the LTO”.

SOSIA cited three legal documents on the matter: Republic Act 4136 (basically our highway code that created the LTO), HLURB Administrative Order No. 3 series of 2017 (AO-17-3 for Home Owners Associations), as well as Republic Act 5487 (the Private Security Agency Law).

PNP to village, condo guards: you may not take custody of driver

The SOSIA memorandum brought up incidents where security guards required that visitors surrender their LTO licenses upon entry given the directives from the HOA. But SOSIA stated that such a directive contradicts Republic Act 4136 wherein only the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and duly-deputized personnel (i.e. LGU traffic management offices) can secure and/or confiscate licenses. HLURB AO-17-3 also makes it clear that the driver of any vehicle entering the subdivision or condominium is not required to submit his/her license, and prescribed penalties for the HOA if they do.

Instead of submitting a driver's license to the village or condominium security, what the PNP CSG SOSIA orders as a replacement is that the driver present any valid government-issued identification card to the security. Presumably, this would mean you can just present your TIN ID, SSS/GSIS ID, Unified Multi-purpose Identification (UMID), PRC ID, DFA Passport (if you happen to have it on hand, which would be odd), COMELEC ID, and the like.

PNP to village, condo guards: you may not take custody of driver

The SOSIA memorandum was issued yesterday, June 15, 2020. The document is currently being disseminated amongst the private security industry (which covers security agencies), private detective agencies, security associations (i.e. PADPAO, FISOP, etc.) and the like, so expect widespread implementation in the coming days or weeks.

So the next time you visit or enter a village or condominium and the guards ask for identification, you can present any valid government-issued ID. If they demand you to surrender the license for whatever reason, you can respectfully refuse and prevent the situation from escalating. It might also be advisable to contact an attorney, and maybe the nearest police station.