The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has announced that its Electronic Payment Assessment Tool (e-PAT) will be rolled out nationwide before the year ends, allowing owners of new vehicles and/or motorcycles to pay for the first three years of registration fees online.
LTO launched the e-PAT to Metro Manila users last June, which allowed them to know the exact amount of registration fee to be paid. They can then pay for them through the online banking facilities of the Land Bank of the Philippines, though that means the user must have an account with the bank to complete the transaction online.
According to Clarence Guinto, regional director of the LTO for the National Capital Region, the rollout of the e-PAT in Metro Manila has been received well, as it has made the process easier for both customers and the agency. The digital processing of payments has allowed for documents such as official receipts and certificates of registration to be released more quickly.
“In the few months that we have been implementing this in Metro Manila, we reduced processing time and avoided heavy queuing for new registration transactions,” he said in a press release published by the LTO last October 24.
The positive reception encouraged the LTO to roll out the service to the rest of Luzon by November 2018. The agency added that it aims to be implemented in LTO’s regional offices in the Visayas and Mindanao before the year ends.
Aside from making the vehicle registration process faster and more seamless, the LTO highlighted that e-PAT eliminates the need for “fixers,” or individuals who hasten the application process but charge additional fees to registrants.
“Kaya ito ginagawa ng LTO, gusto naming matanggal ang impresyon na kapag may pila, may fixer. Kapag pahirapan ang transaksyon, may korapsyon (The reason LTO is implementing this is because we want to remove the impression that if there are long queues, there are fixers, and if paying fees is hard, there is corruption),” said Arthur Tugade, secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), in a statement. “Ang pagsasaayos ng sistema ay isa sa mga hakbang upang mapabuti ang serbisyo ng ahensya (Fixing the system is one of the ways to improve the service of the agency).”
Indeed, the rollout and expansion of the e-PAT is LTO’s response to Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act. Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last May 28, it aims to make various government processes easier by putting clear deadlines on simple and complex transactions.
While the e-PAT is only able to process new vehicle registrations at the moment, the LTO is also looking into expanding the types of services users can pay for online. Among the services the LTO is looking at are the fees for renewing vehicle registrations, as well as for applying and renewing driver’s licenses. The agency hopes to accommodate online transactions for these services by 2019.
“People are not only expecting, but are demanding the availability of our services online,” said Guinto.
Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH