LTO’s Tugade says departure will give Transport department ‘free hand’ in running agency

ASSISTANT Transport Secretary Jose Arturo M. Tugade said his departure from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) was the result of a conflicting ideas on how to run the office with the Department of Transportation (DoTr), its parent agency.

“For this reason, I am stepping down so Secretary Jaime J. Bautista will have the free hand to choose who he can work best with,” Mr. Tugade said in a statement.

“Even as the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and LTO both aim to succeed in serving the public, our methods to achieve that success differ,” Mr. Tugade said.

Mr. Tugade did not elaborate on his differences with the DoTr.

The resignation takes effect on June 1.

Mr. Tugade took office on Nov. 17, 2022. He is the son of the former Transport Secretary, Arthur P. Tugade.

“I will continue to root for the LTO’s success even as a private citizen, because I will always share in Secretary Bautista’s belief that our offices can be a formidable force for good in our country,” he said.

In a separate statement, Mr. Bautista said that the DoTr will recommend to the Office of the President a new official to head the LTO.

“We extend our appreciation to Assistant Secretary Tugade for his seven-month stint as Assistant Secretary of the LTO,” Mr. Bautista said.

“His pursuit of service innovations at LTO benefited the public, for which this office is grateful,” he said.

During his term, Mr. Tugade introduced electronic systems, online renewal options, a cap on driving school rates, incentives for electric vehicle users, and a three-year validity period for registering motorcycles with engine displacements of 200 cubic centimeters and below.

Late Monday, the Palace announced in a statement the appointment of Roque I. Verzosa III as regional director of the LTO-National Capital Region (NCR).

The appointment signals the merger of LTO’s the two NCR offices, the Palace said.

“With the appointment of Mr. Verzosa, the LTO-NCR East and the LTO-NCR West are now merged into one regional office, which shall be composed of at least 65 field district offices, extension offices, licensing centers, including those located at malls, and other similar offices,” the Palace said.

Before the appointment, Mr. Verzosa had served as officer-in-charge regional director of LTO-NCR-West starting October 2022. He also held the position of assistant regional director of LTO-NCR-West. — Justine Irish D. Tabile