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Renewing your driver’s license? Watch out for this powertripping, Gestapo-like LTO Epal

My relative recently got big time shit at an LTO office.
At first, I didn’t want to believe it because I’ve had recent interactions with the ex-DOTC head and the current DOTC secretary and I witnessed how hard they were/are trying their darndest to make the department’s agencies give faster, smoother, less tedious service.
Apparently, their passion in making delightful service a norm (not the exception) is not trickling down to some people in the organization.
My sister in law, Portia E. Flores, narrated this:
This is long, but I need to get this out of my system!
Have you read what’s on your drivers license lately? Or are we similar in that we stash it in our purse to be used when apprehended by traffic enforcer or when an official ID is required?
I ask this because I just renewed my drivers license yesterday and had the misfortune of crossing paths with a Dr Paul Michael Chitongco (of CPM Team Drvg Testing & Medical Center whose proprietor is Paula Cabotaje.) The location – LTO Satellite office Robinsons Cainta at about 1130am March 19, 2014.
This satellite office is a one room affair with a divider separating the outsourced ‘medical clinic’ and glass dividers separating the LTO transaction counters. It is such that you can hear the LTO people giving instructions on how to fill up forms and the doctor telling the applicants which line of the eye exam to read.
While the medical form was being explained to me, Erika Flores and I could not help but hear the doctor berate an elderly man who was asked to read the eye exam letters posted on the wall. His voice was loud (ok, maybe the elderly man had problems with hearing) but the tone was impatient and disrespectful. Erika nudged me saying ‘Mom’ in a ‘Down, Boy’, if I were an attack dog, which I did. As we were waiting, we could hear the voice of the doctor boom out – ‘Basahin ang ocho.. Sabi ocho’ to one applicant, ‘Line 2’ to another.
If you're poor and/or old, the treatment gets worse

If you’re poor and/or old, the treatment gets worse

I whispered to Erika – “Boy, this man is having bad day” to which she replied “but it’s not yet 12”. And I said “he probably has a huge problem”. Then my daughter whispered naughtily “Mom, would you like me to tell him (said in a high pitch little girl’s whisper) “Excuse me, it’s my Mom’s birthday today and it started reaaaally good, (in a lower tone) so you had better not f__ing piss her off”! We giggled after this and continued to wait.
Then it was my turn…conversation was like this:
Me: good morning!
Him: (sliding my documents and pointing to the center part of my license) Saan ang salamin?
Me: (in a demure voice) Po? Hindi ko po dala.
Him: Hindi mo ba binabasa ang lisensiya mo?
Me: hindi. Bakit ano ang babasahin?
Him: It says here you need to wear glasses when you drive.
Me: oh, I dont wear glasses when I drive anymore. Reading na lang.
Him: (In a booming voice) thats why kailangan basahin ito ( tapping my license)
Am not sure if I am the only one who feels her head swelling, who feels her eyes bulging, and knuckles clenching in situations like this. It being my birthday and having resolved to be stress free with a goal of enjoying the day I said emphatically:
“I do not have my glasses. I can drive without my glasses. If I do not have my glasses now, does that mean that I cannot renew my license? ( my voice was a bit louder this time)
Him: nandito sa license mo na kailanganmo magglasses.
Me: hindi na nga ako far sighted! Are you saying that I should go home, look for the glasses I do not wear anymore or should I go to an optical shop to purchase one that I will not use! Heck you should know that eyesight can regenerate with supplements!!
Why don’t you let me read those letters!”
Him: you need glasses!
Me: i want to speak to the one in charge!
He just stands up and brings the docs to the glass encased LTO office where the LTO officer is, points to my license and goes back to his cubicle.) In seven minutes, (after checking their computer and probably seeing that I only had 2 motor accidents- a bus bumped me sometime 1980s and a Meralco post on a long truck grazed the right side of my car- I am called to have my picture taken. This photo, my daughter labelled Smile of Triumph!
I wanted to confront Dr Paul Michael Chitongco before I left but why waste my time with a super close minded, arrogant, pompous human like him.
As I left, I said a prayer of thanks for my renewed license and asked Him to spare the rest of the applicants from THIS Paul Michael Chitongco!
I know the world has become smaller and I hope this gets to Paul Michael Chitongco, Paula Cabotaje, the LTO department in charge of these outsourced medical clinics. The government has taken a big step in making it more convenient for the citizens to process important documents – satellite offices for NBI, Passport and Drivers License renewal etc. I hope they take it one more step by reminding their staff – directly hired or outsourced that they provide a service that is not free! In fairness, the LTO staff themselves were helpful and when I asked Wala bang nagcocomplain sa kanya? They replied – Marami na ho. Then shrugged their shoulders.
As an afterthought, I should have asked for my P100 ( medical fee) back and used it to purchase a choco roll for the LTO staff who did not seem to have their lunch break.
Now to see how my 55th year will be like…..
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