House bill seeks to merge LTO, LTFRB into one agency

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 28) Lawmakers are seeking to merge the country's two major transport regulators into one agency.

House Bill No. 6776 or the "Land Transport Act of 2017," which was filed on December 11 by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and eight other lawmakers, would repeal Executive Order No. 202 and Executive Orders No. 125-A and 226 to create the Land Transportation Agency.

The first order created in 1987 the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), which regulates public utility vehicles, while the last two formed the Land Transportation Office (LTO), also in 1987, which handles the licensing of drivers and the registration of all motor vehicles.

"Important considerations should be embarked on to create a central agency that will consolidate the functions of the LTO and the LTFRB, in order to avoid confusion as to which agency is tasked to maintain land transportation law and order in the Philippines," the bill's explanatory note stated.

Aside from absorbing the powers of the two agencies, the Land Transportation Authority will have a five-member, policy-making Board:

  • A chairman with the same rank, salary and privileges of an Undersecretary
  • A member who is a lawyer with at least five years of legal practice
  • A member with a degree in public transportation planning
  • A member with a degree in engineering
  • A member with a degree in management

In addition, a director-general will serve as the agency's chief operating officer, in charge of implementing policies.

Under the current structure, the LTFRB has a Board — composed of a chairperson and two members — that creates and implements policies.

Meanwhile, the LTO is headed by a chief with the rank of Assistant Secretary.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV filed measures for a National Land Transportation Authority in the 14th and 15th Congress.

But the Senate does not have a counterpart measure yet for House Bill No.  6776.

MVIS, mandatory driving school

The proposed measure also contains two revisions on vehicle registration and driver's licensing.

First, each region is required to have Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) equipment, which will allow the agency to test the roadworthiness of vehicles being registered.

In addition, the bill will require all applicants renewing their professional driver's licenses, to attend an accredited driving school.

Current regulations do not require first-time or renewing applicants to attend a driving school.