COTABATO CITY (February 23, 2023) – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista has issued a Memorandum, dated February 20, 2023, addressing the issue of the non-recognition of Bangsamoro Land Transportation Office-issued driver’s licenses outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Secretary Bautista advised in the said memorandum that all Land Transportation Offices (LTO) outside BARMM and other concerned agencies must recognize the BLTO-issued licenses provided that these are in accordance with BLTO’s guidelines in the identification and verification.
It is said, however that this is just a temporary measure to avoid further confusion and inconvenience to motorists and LTO personnel while waiting for pending decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on BLTO’s jurisdiction and authority.
Meantime, the Land Transportation Office has finally turned-over the management and operation of the Land Transportation district offices in Maguindanao and Marawi City to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) on February 22, 2023.
MOTC Minister Atty. Paisalin Tago said that the turnover was by the provisions of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), stating that all offices and premises belonging to BARMM should be turned over to Bangsamoro Government.
“It is a great honor and it is a historic moment in the history of BARMM, noon pa ito, kaya lang may mga legal and technicalities involved hindi na-turn over. BASULTA and Cotabato City were turned over earlier,” said Tago.
The representative of LTO-12, Elmer Obhelidhon is thankful for the successful turnover of the two district offices of LTO in Maguindanao and Marawi City.
“Pursuant to the memorandum issued by the Regional Director, implementing the memorandum issued by the Assistant Secretary in compliance with the directive of the secretary of DOTC, we are very grateful because our turnover was successful,” said Obhelidhon.
On the other hand, last January 10, 2023, the Bangsamoro Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (BLTFRB) of the MOTC has further strengthen its anti-colorum campaign and conducted information drive in Cotabato City.
The campaign aims to inform those engaged in public transportation operations and other transportation stakeholders in the region to comply with their franchise documents before its full operations in April this year.
Land Transportation Service Director II Datunor G. Abutazil said, “To our fellow motorists with passenger cars, our Ministry headed by Atty. Paisalin P. Tago, CPA, has given a three-month (January-March) grace period for passenger cars that have not yet complied with their franchise. If possible, please consult our office to find out the details.”
The BLTFRB announced that the same activity will be held in Lanao del Sur this year as well as in the Islands province of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi.
The initiative further aims to carry out the board’s mandate to provide the Bangsamoro people with a fast, efficient, reliable and safe public transportation system. (Normina S. Dagem/BMN-USM BSIR Interns/BangsamoroToday, photo by Mikie A. Mamacan, USM BSIR Intern)