I was happy as a turd in a toilet bowl. While scanning the latest news from the Philippines, I came across an interesting report from the Inquirer.net. “HOLY CRAP, BATMAN! GOOD DRIVERS IN THE PHILIPPINES CAN GET 10-YEAR LICENSES NEXT YEAR!”


OK, I admit it. The article didn’t use “Batman” in the title. However, if the Dark Knight ever moved to the Philippines would he be able to get that new 10-year license the LTO, Philippines Land Transportation Office, will be offering?

Artwork by Jim Lee from Wikipedia

LTO, beginning in October 2021, will be issuing new licenses, including one valid for 10 years. However, only motorists with spotless driving records will qualify for the privilege. While I currently meet the requirements for the new license, Batman might not. The reckless way he drives around Gotham City in his Batmobile is worrisome. It might disqualify him from obtaining the new license.

1940’s Batmobile by Bob Kane courtesy of Batmobilehistory.com

Do You Have a Clean Record?

Only those without any traffic violation will qualify for a driver’s license with a 10-year validity.

I don’t have any speeding tickets or other traffic violations in the Philippines.   First, there are no speed traps in Guimaras. Secondly, there are no DIU blockades.

Moreover, the World Health Organization gave our provincial police eight Breathalyzers years ago. However, reports indicate that no one knows how to operate the Breathalyzers. Supposedly, they sit on a shelf in some police station.

We Pause for a Word from the LTO

LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said the new licenses were in line with the implementation of Republic Act No. 10930. This law extended their validity from the current three years to five. I was able to obtain the five-year license two years ago.

Only drivers with clean traffic records will qualify for the “premium” license valid for 10 years.

“Not all possessors of drivers’ licenses will be able to enjoy this 10-year validity. This is an incentive for drivers who obey traffic rules,” Galvante said. “Even just one demerit point can disqualify you. So to avail of this premium, your record must be clean.”

“Hopefully with this measure, we can reduce crashes and accidents that cause injuries and deaths on the road,” he added. The demerit system is part of R.A. 10930’s implementing rules and regulations that took effect in June.

Under the new plan, grave violations will earn a motorist five demerit points. Less grave violations will mean three demerits. In addition, light violations will be equivalent to a demerit.

Grave violations while driving a motor vehicle include the following:

  • Used in the commission of crimes (yes, if The Joker uses his “Jokermobile” to rob a sari sari store in the Philippines, this would constitute a “grave” violation. Don’t think The Joker has a Jokermobile? Check out the Bob Kane Batman stories from the Fifties and early Sixties.)
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Operating “colorum” vehicles (basically, a “colorum” vehicle is  a private motor vehicle operating as a PUV, Public Utility Vehicle, jeepney, but without proper authority from the LTFRB, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.)
  • A third and succeeding times the license holder disregards driving regulations such as seatbelt use, child safety, and anti-distracted driving will also constitute a “grave” violation.

Jokermobile courtesy of ComicCoverage.com

Less grave violations refer to the second-time offense of driving laws, parking and obstruction violations, and acts punishable by local ordinances.

Light violations, on the other hand, include first-time offenses of driving regulations and minor traffic offenses.

However, there will be no specific cap for demerit points. Licenses will undergo a case-by-case basis evaluation. For example, even the licenses of motorists with only a few demerit points for light violations may be suspended or revoked if these are accumulated repeatedly.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Back in the States, all but nine states use the point system, which is similar to the demerit points system. However, if you accumulate too many points within a certain period in the USA, your license is typically suspended or revoked.

While I was caught speeding a few times back in Illinois, I never accumulated enough points to have my license taken away.

According to insurance.com, the following states currently don’t have a driver’s license points system:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Seniors Currently Banned from LTO

Old man & his dogs courtesy of pixabay

However, if you’re a senior in the Philippines over 60 years, don’t get too excited. LTO employees currently cannot deal with anyone over 59 years of age due to the COVID-19 pandemic

While my current Philippine Driver’s License doesn’t expire in a few years, I certainly hope to take advantage of the new 10-year license. My wife, who obtained her Driver’s License in the States, does most of the driving. She has much more patience than I do and uses our Ford Ranger’s horn a lot less than I do.

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