Tugade quits as LTO chief over differences with DoTr

Photograph courtesy of FB/Jayart Tugade

Land Transportation Office chief Jay Art Tugade resigned from his post early Monday due to what he termed differences with Department of Transportation executives.

“Even as DoTr and LTO both aim to succeed in serving the public, our methods to achieve that success differ,” he said in a statement. “For this reason, I am stepping down, so Secretary Jimmy Bautista (DoTr chief) will have the free hand to choose who he can work best with.”

He said he will continue to root for the LTO’s success even as a private citizen, “because I will always share in Secretary Bautista’s belief that our offices can be a formidable force for good in our country.”

The DoTr said it will now recommend a new LTO head honcho who can display the “same fervor” as Tugade.

Reacting to Tugade’s resignation, Bautista said his agency will coordinate with Malacañang for recommendations.

“We will submit to the Office of the President our recommendation of an LTO chief who can display the same fervor while aligning efforts to the mission of this Department,” Bautista said in a statement.

Nonetheless, Bautista extended his appreciation to Tugade for his seven-month stint as Assistant Secretary of the LTO.

“His pursuit of service innovations at LTO benefited the public, for which this office is grateful,” he said.

Tugade announced his resignation, which will be effective by the end of the month, on Monday morning.

LTO Digitalization

During his tenure, Tugade pushed for the digitalization of all the LTO’s systems and operations to make the transaction of services more efficient and more convenient for the public.

The LTO, however, also faced backlash during his term after it ran out of plastic cards to print driver’s licenses, which forced the agency to print makeshift copies on paper. It was on top of the projection that license plate materials are likely to also run out by June.

The LTO said the problem was caused by the DoTr’s issuance of an order that mandated all procurement activities worth over P50 million to pass through the central office.

The DoTr, on the other hand, reiterated that procurement should have been made in August last year as it could have prevented the materials shortage and delayed release of licenses to motorists.

During his six months stint, Tugade pushed for the transition from a manual Temporary Operator’s Permit to an electronic system utilizing handheld devices for increased efficiency and convenience. He also introduced online renewal options for private motor vehicle registration, streamlining the process for vehicle owners.

New LTO-NCR chief named

Meanwhile, Roque I. Verzosa III has been appointed as the regional director of the LTO-National Capital Region by President Ferdinand R. Marcos and officially took his oath of office in the presence of Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista on Monday afternoon.

Verzosa is the former officer-in-charge-Regional Director of the LTO-NCR-West since October 2022. Before assuming that role, he held the position of assistant regional director of LTO-NCR-West.

The LTO-NCR was earlier divided into two sub-regions created by Department Order 2018-021 (Delineation of Functions in the Land Transportation Office in the National Capital Region) on 13 September 2018, signed by then-DoTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade.

With the appointment of Verzosa, the LTO-NCR East and the LTO-NCR West are now merged into one regional office, which shall be composed of at least 65 field district offices, extension offices, licensing centers, including those located at malls, and other similar offices.

Akin to his previous role as acting director of LTO-NCR West, Verzosa said his office’s primary aims are to implement the various laws covering and affecting the land transportation sector, to enhance revenue generation and collection efforts, to implement the law on the ease of doing business with the government, to advocate for road safety, and to manage the regional office efficiently.

He vowed to give his utmost effort to steering the government agency towards new heights, aiming to enhance public service even further under his “Let’s make NCR great again” motto.

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