“Under the new system developed by Dermalog, the program and the data are owned and operated by the LTO without charging any fees to the public”
Last week, on August 12, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. led the mass oath-taking of new and re-appointed members of the 80-strong Bangsamoro Transition Authority in a simple ceremony at Malacañan Palace.
For those unfamiliar with the BTA, they are now the governing body of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), created by virtue of the Bangsamoro Organic Law passed and signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018.
The BOL and BARMM were the products of 17 years of peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that concluded with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014.
The people of the then-ARMM voted in a 2019 plebiscite to ratify the BOL. With their votes, they agreed to replace ARMM with BARMM. After the plebiscite, the BTA was created, and 80 members were appointed by Rodrigo Duterte in 2018.
The BTA members’ terms of office should have ended this year with an election, but a law passed by Congress amended the BOL and extended the transition period from 2022 to 2025, with a provision stating that the appointing authority is still the President.
Hence, the mass oath-taking ceremony last week.
President Marcos’ appointments in the BTA are very laudable. If you look at the composition of the present BTA, it would seem the screening committee did its job well.
Not only is the BTA now composed of a competent and experienced group of individuals, but it also brings forth the unification of the bright minds of the MILF and the Nur Misuari faction of the MNLF.
This will be the first time that the MILF and MNLF are working together. They don’t usually see eye to eye on many things. Yet, when asked to step up and work for a better Bangsamoro, they all answered the call for peace.
This includes the vetting and appointment of qualified individuals from various sectors such as women, indigenous peoples and the youth. Moro technocrats and professionals who have good track records, both in government service and the private sector, were added to the mix for good measure.
Most of those who were re-appointed, especially the 39 national government nominees, are also experienced government workers who have served in local, regional and national agencies.
The appointments to the BTA were all based on merit.
Who was responsible for bringing all these people together in one room? This was possible largely because of Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., appointed in a hold-over capacity as the head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity or OPAPRU.
He is the man responsible for bringing together this list of 80 people for appointment to the BTA.
Along with the screening committee who vetted the nominees, Secretary Galvez, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, intimately knows the ins and outs of the peace process in BARMM.
He was one of the personalities tasked with getting the BOL ratified and, subsequently, creating the BARMM.
The screening committee’s, and Secretary Galvez’s, contributions to peace process have been invaluable and they are deeply appreciated.
COA wants Stradcom to turn over LTO database
In the Commission on Audit’s 2021 annual audit report of the Department of Transportation it clearly states: “Compel Stradcom to turn over the LTO database…”
According to Dermalog spokesperson, Atty. Nikki de Vega, as early as 2018 when the LTO bid their IT project, it was clear the former IT provider had to turn over the database.
Even if the servers are owned by the previous IT provider, the people’s data belongs to the government and the LTO.
It must be readily available to the LTO and should a new IT provider be selected, it should be made available for the migration. However, this has not been the case.
The new LTO chief, Atty. Teofilo Guadiz complained last week over the long lines at the LTO and threatened to bring back the previous IT provider, Stradcom, without having spoken to its current IT providers, Dermalog.
After backlash from his pronouncements, Guadiz backtracked this week and issued a press release stating he had no intention to change LTO’s current IT partner Dermalog.
Netizens around the country have been posting the excellent experience in their driver’s license renewals, some claiming as fast as 10 minutes, as experienced by a certain Jon Jamora who posted in his Facebook and processed it in LTO Davao.
Atty. de Vega explained: “LTMS works and is ready. Dermalog’s terms of reference among other things was (sic) to build and customize the LTMS program for the LTO and pilot in 24 sites around the country.
“This has been completed and Time and Motion studies by the LTO show that LTMS is much faster than the previous program used by Stradcom. The LTO issued a certificate of completion and final acceptance last 2021.
“What remains is LTO’s rollout which is already 97 percent. The remaining 3 percent comes from the new registrations which for reasons unknown to us remain with Stradcom.
“There is a term called GiGo or Garbage in Garbage out. The small minority of the delays experienced comes mostly from motor vehicle registrations.
“Since new registrations remain with Stradcom and when they transmit their faulty data, it has to be manually corrected – that is where the delay occurs.”
He added: “Let us complete the LTMS rollout 100 percent and migrate all the data to LTO’s new system so the public can feel the ease and speed of processing at the LTO.”
This problem has caught the attention of Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera who delivered a privilege speech last August 9.
Herrera said: “What particularly caught my attention is that the LTO chief, Assistant Secretary Teofilo Guadiz, openly lambasted its existing IT supplier, and in the same instance, actually commended the agency’s previous contract holder.
“He even went as far as saying that the old supplier was ‘welcome to bid for their previous contract, should things go south between the LTO and its current IT provider.
“Considering his position and the substantial amount involved in the contract, this statement may be considered imprudent or highly irresponsible, to say the least. If anything, it may give rise to public speculation on why the LTO appears to be in a rush to find a new IT supplier – or in this case, revert to a previous one – when they have a signed, active agreement with an existing corporation.”
She said that based on the stipulations of the 2016 phase-out agreement that the LTO had with its previous supplier, Stradcom, the agency has full and complete ownership of all collective and individual databases and requires Stradcom to turn over these crucial databases to the LTO and the supplier that replaced them.
This is also the main difference between Stradcom’s contract with the LTO where they will Build-Operate-Own the system and charge the public fees which results in billions of profit for Stradcom. Under the new system developed by Dermalog, the program and the data are owned and operated by the LTO without charging any fees to the public.
However, Herrera said that her initial inquiries revealed that Stradcom had apparently not turned over this data.