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LTO to launch digital driver's license amid plastic card shortage

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published May 08, 2023 8:03 pm

Motorists planning to renew or apply for a driver's license in the coming months can soon expect to get it right on their smartphones.

On Monday, May 8, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced that it is set to launch an electronic driver's license as an alternative to the temporary paper-based licenses being issued by the agency amid the shortage of plastic cards used to print licenses.

In a news release published on social media, LTO chief Art Tugade said the digital driver's license will be housed in a "super app" developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). It will reflect the same security features found on the physical driver's license. 

"The advantage of the digital license is that motorists can present it to law enforcement officers during apprehension. It is equivalent to presenting the physical driver's license," Tugade said.

LTO has yet to disclose the launch date and implementation of the electronic driver's license. Its announcement comes two weeks after Tugade confirmed that there is an ongoing nationwide shortage on plastic cards, and that the cards are expected to be depleted by last week of April.

With this, the agency has begun issuing official receipts to serve as temporary driver's licenses. This is in addition to extending the validity of driver's licenses expiring by April 24, 2023 to Oct. 31, 2023. 

In a press briefing on April 21, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that the plastic cards would be available by July. 

In addition to the digital driver's license, Tugade said the "super app" is designed to store "all government IDs, among other things." It can be used for license registration, renewal, and online payments.

The app, according to DICT Assistant Secretary Edwin Ligot, has undergone testing earlier this month.