After years of unsettled disputes, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Land Transportation Office (LTO) on December 9 signed a one-year phase out agreement with STRADCOM, LTO’s IT provider since 1998.
The agreement was laid down to allow LTO to subscribe to a new IT service provider covering hardware, software, and data component requirements of the agency, and to give STRADCOM time to turn over of the source code and database to the government.
In the agreement, DOTr Sec. Art Tugade made sure that STRADCOM shall do its part in helping the smooth migration of data and computer operations to the next IT provider of the LTO. DOTr explained that it will take one to two years to change an IT provider as it will include data migration.
Bidding processes and conditions shall also be set within the one-year provision of organizing and transferring of data.
DOTr in turn agreed to settle the PHP8 Billion debt of the government to STRADCOM, given that STRADCOM shall properly observe payment rules set by the Commission on Audit (COA).
DOTr likewise agreed to allow STRADCOM to join the bidding as it is open to all qualified bidders who are capable to provide the requirements set in the Terms of Reference.
Expiration in 2013
The procurement of the PHP8.2 Billion LTO IT system was ordered in 2011. The following year, the Department split the contract into two, due to the bidders' failure to qualify for the project's broad scope. The contract for software and data components was worth P3.4 billion, while hardware component contract was for P4.8 billion. But the bidding was delayed when the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) due to internal ownership disputes in STRADCOM.
In February 2013, STRADCOM's contract expired while the TRO was still in effect. To avoid disruption of transactions and reversion to manual operations, the government extended STRADCOM's contract through emergency procurement under the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The QC RTC lifted the TRO in the same year and ruled that the government may proceed with the bidding for a new IT service provider. The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision in March 2016.
Benefits of the new LTO-IT System
The new LTO-IT system aims to provide a sustainable solution to address the current system’s issues.
When it finally interlinks with the automation system of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the government will be able to eliminate cases of PUVs securing an LTFRB franchise without LTO registration, as well as PUVs that are registered with the LTO but does not have an LTFRB franchise. It will also make it easier for authorities to recover stolen vehicles, trace smuggled vehicles, prevent double registration and monitor unregistered vehicles.