Monday, January 28, 2008

Finally, My Drivers' License

Almost a year ago, I blogged about learning how to drive and getting my student permit. I did not apply for a non-professional license until about two weeks ago when I actually had the free time to do so. I waited this long because I really dread going to any government office as it's always a bad experience when I visit one. I knew that it's going to take me hours to process that, so I gave my boss a heads up that I might be late for just a few minutes. I start work at 4:30pm and since we are planning to be at the LTO office by 7:30 am, we might be done by lunch time or 3pm at the worst.

It was a Friday, and my dad and I were at the LTO licensing center in San Juan by 7:30 am. We really wanted to finish early so I could make it to work on time. I even wore a nice, decent outfit so I can go straight to the office as soon as I get my license. I timed everything so could blog about it as I am doing now. Hehe.

7:45 am DRUG TEST. The LTO offices are still closed at this time, and it's a good thing that the drug testing clinic was already open. I got the result three minutes after I submitted my you-know-what. I paid P250 for this.

8:00 am MEDICAL EXAM. Well, it was more of an interview rather than an exam. The 55-year old doctor just asked me how old I was, how tall I am, and if I wear glasses. He even cursed while he was writing my (long) full name. But I did step on the weighing scale. He filled up the certificate, signed it and gave it to me. I paid a hundred pesos for that.

9:26 am PHOTOSIG. After almost an hour and a half's waiting, my name was finally called. There I had my photo taken and my digital signature saved. The lady at the window told me to wait for my name to be called at the cashier. So I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.
11:27 am PAY FOR APPLICATION FEE. Finally, my name was called! I was at the verge of throwing a tantrum and creating havoc. Two precious hours of my time have been wasted sitting down and doing nothing but play the boring games in my cellphone. There was only one cashier available, who operated a computer and a dot matrix printer that prints the receipts. All payments for license renewal, application, and other license-related fees goes to just one slow cashier. One receipt is printed every 2 minutes or more. I asked some people why it takes them so long--most of them said that it's because the computers are slow. Aren't computers supposed to make everything faster? I really wanted to volunteer and help out the lady at the cashier, or donate a faster PC. The irony is that I paid a small amount of P96 which covers the application fee and the COMPUTER FEE. Yes, I waited almost 2 hours to pay P96. 

11:45 pm WRITTEN TEST. I was called for the test shortly after I paid the silly fees. Obviously, the cashier has really been the cause of delay the whole time. I took the test which I already know the answers to (thanks to the reviewer). I only took about 20 minutes to do this because the government employees in the testing room are talking and laughing out loud and they started to annoy me. After the test, I went out to meet my dad and we had lunch together.

That's already half a day down the drain. I noticed that at around 12:30pm, the people are being ushered out of the waiting areas--the office will be closed because the government employees are going to have lunch. That really pissed me off a bit.

1:56 pm ROAD TEST. I was already in panic mode by this time. I realized I won't be able to make it to work on time anymore at the rate they are going. I have managed to speak to a few more people and they said that it would really take me the whole day, because everything is computerized now. It doesn't make sense, right? My anger was just fueled when I heard these comments, thinking that my hard-earned taxes go to these people plus I had to pay a computer fee to keep their slow computers going. Argh! Anyway, the road test was quite easy especially if you already know how to drive. My heart was broken further when I was told that the next step was to pay at the cashier again.

3:35 pm PAY AGAIN AT THE CASHIER. This is for the license fee and COMPUTER FEE. I really don't understand why this was not charged earlier. I really wanted to cry while I was waiting. My dad and I are trying to entertain ourselves by telling each other corny jokes and talking about Popi. I was really dismayed and frustrated at the whole process, and it reminded me of why I sometimes want to move out of the Philippines. The system is so rotten.

3:45 pm GOT MY LICENSE! My dad recognized someone he knew who is working at the LTO--the guy pulled out my papers and had my license printed out right away. It was still warm when he handed it to me.

Because I already smell of smoke and sweat, I decided to go home first before going to the office. I was a couple of hours late. If I was working 9am-5pm, I would've missed a day's work already just to get my license. Is that even fair at all? It really sucks.

But at least, I have license to drive now. I certainly hope I don't need to visit any government office anytime soon.