The Cost of Getting a Driver’s License in the Philippines

Hey, I should start searching for free car insurance quotes! Because I might be able to drive one again! A car, I mean.

See, I lost my driver’s license card (along with my ATM, credit card and a wad of cash) a year ago when I stupidly placed my purse in the shallow pockets of a pair of red shorts and boarded a taxi in .

Minutes after Gim paid the taxi driver and we were walking to our destination, I suddenly realized my loss. Tried to run after the taxi, but by that time it was meters away and going faster and farther.

So careless of me. Fortunately, it only took a lengthy explanation to get a new ATM card and a phone call to have my credit card voided (it was gonna lead me to financial ruin anyway). But so not that easy to get a new driver’s license!

Gim and I started the process today. Because I’m nearing my renewal date, and if I had renewed it a year earlier, there would’ve been an extra fee of Php50. But the bureaucracy doesn’t stop there.

First we went to get a community tax certificate from the City Treasurer’s Office. Because if we didn’t, we couldn’t get an affidavit of loss. That cost me only Php5 because I said I was a student. (Well, technically I am!)

Then we went to get the affidavit, which, for a piece of paper saying I had lost my card, cost me Php150. And the lawyer wasn’t even there, so maybe his secretary forged his signature or something.

Thirdly, we went to the Land Transportation Office to get the form for a duplicate license. Filled it up and we were told to come back tomorrow. Oh and they don’t have any pens in there, so I had to buy a crappy pen outside. Why???

Checked for the cost of the renewal. Php472.63. What??? Here’s the breakdown.

Replacement Fee – 225 (For a little piece of laminated paper)
Duplicate Fee – 50 (Per year of unexpired portion, wtf?)
Certification Fee – 100 (Another piece of paper)
Clearance Fee – 30 (Another wtf?)
Computer Fee – 67.63 (For like, 5 minutes worth of computer usage.)

I think LTO just likes to make up these phantom fees so they could extract every single peso from our pockets. *Blood pressure shooting up*

Wait, we’re not yet done. Tomorrow, there’s still the matter of acquiring extra documents such as the Certificate of Good Health from a government physician (which apparently requires an xray worth around Php300 by itself) and a Drug Test from an LTO-accredited office. So all of that will probably cost me around Php1000.

Still with me? We’re racking up almost Php2000 worth of fees now. And I haven’t even gotten my card yet. Guess what they’ll say tomorrow when I finally pay ALL the fees and submit all the supporting documents? They’ll say, hush hush, that if I want my request to be processed immediately, I should hand them over around Php1000, under the table, if you know what I mean. Or even more, depending on how rich I look at that particular moment.

I should know, because that happened to me the first time around. And if I don’t pay this transaction fee, it will take me eons to get my license. And I only have a week before I’m returning to .

So. Do other people pay half the monthly minimum wage to get a crummy plastic laminated card, or are the just doomed to eternal governmental fail?

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