LTO-12 to adopt stricter protocols vs COVID-19 as it reopens Wednesday

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 May) – The Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Region 12 or Soccsksargen has adopted stricter safety and precautionary protocols against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in all its offices in line with the resumption of its operations on Wednesday

Macario Gonzaga, LTO-12 director, said all nine district and extension offices in the region will fully open to render their mandated services after a nearly two-month interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said these covers the processing of vehicle registration and driver’s licenses as well as the enforcement of traffic-related regulations.

But he said they will remain on high alert and implement the necessary safety protocols as well as precautionary measures to prevent the possible spread of the highly contagious disease.

LTO-12 has district offices in this city, Koronadal City, Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat and Surallah in South Cotabato. The extension offices are located in Kabacan and Midsayap in North Cotabato, Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Alabel in Sarangani.

“We will be back to our regular operations but with some adjustments to ensure the safety of our personnel and clients,” Gonzaga said in a radio interview.

The official said their central office directed the resumption of their full operations following the downgrading of the region’s status to general community quarantine and the easing of the movement restrictions starting last May 1.

The agency scaled down its operations last March 23 after the entire Soccsksargen was placed under enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Citing a public advisory issued by their central office on May 9, he said they will strictly observe the mandatory wearing of face masks and the practice of physical or social distancing.

The LTO advisory, which was issued a day after a meeting with their top officials via teleconferencing, sets that transactions involving persons below 21 years old, those aged 60 and above and pregnant will only be allowed after the lifting of the community quarantine.

Gonzaga said all their field offices and personnel were ready with the operational adjustments, especially on the implementation of the safety measures.

With the resumption of their enforcement activities, he said they will also go back to the “apprehension mode” for traffic violators.

But he said they will observe the 60-day extension for the renewal of vehicle registration and driver’s license that expired during the quarantine period.

LTO-12 earlier suspended their enforcement activities after reassigning its field personnel to assist the COVID-19 response initiatives of local government units.

These include assisting the movement of medical frontliners, especially those who have no vehicles, and first responders.

Some of the enforcers were assigned to “staging areas” like terminals to help implement social distancing and other related protocols. (MindaNews)