Drivers and operators belonging to the National Public Transport Coalition (NPTC) on Sunday hit the new foreign-made information technology platform of the Land Transportation Office’s Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) for charging “enormous service fees” to the motoring public.

At a media interview, NPTC national convenor Ariel Lim said the LTO  charges drivers, vehicle owners, auto dealers and operators a minimum of P75 per transaction when paying through the LTMS.

The service fees are allocated for the online portal’s accredited payment gateway, Paynamics.

Instead of providing convenience, the LTMS has become an added financial burden to the motoring public, especially to the low-income public utility vehicle drivers, Lim lamented.

Since the government owns the LTMS, the public must not be charged additional fees, he said, citing the system could be used as a money-making scheme and a vehicle for corruption.

He questioned if the selection for the payment with the gateway partner went through a proper bidding and accreditation.

The basis of the price for a service fee as it is higher than the usual rate of P25 to P45, apart from the P75 service charge.

Several motorists, especially those computer illiterates, could resort to paying P100 to P200 to “fixers” just to open an LTMS account, the group said.

The NPTC earlier renewed its call to the Senate and Congress to investigate the supposed system glitches and irregularities of the LTMS project due to the failure of LTO’s IT provider – Dermalog, to deliver its output on time despite rfull payment of P3.19 billion.

Abono party-list Rep. Robert Raymond Estrella meanwhile said the services of the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) German contractor Dermalog have been discontinued in Indonesia and five other countries.

A letter of Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Agus Widjojo sent to Estrella confirmed that Dermalog, which handles the agency’s LTMS project, had encountered problems with Indonesia and several other countries that resulted in the termination of its services.

Dermalog’s services were discontinued because its system failed to deliver the requirements of the Indonesian government.

“However, due to licensing restrictions and prolonged processing time required to capture and match fingerprints through the system, the Dermalog Identification system has since been discontinued . It has been replaced with a more advanced biometric system that meets the current needs of our law enforcement agencies,” Widjojo’s March 3 letter read.

In Indonesia, the Dermalog Identification System was implemented by the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Agency, particularly for the Indonesia Automatic Fingerprint Identification System from 2005 to 2012 to digitally record fingerprints for criminal and non-criminal databases in 32 regional police offices.

In 2017, Haiti also awarded a contract for new biometric devices for the renewal of national ID cards but the Haiti parliament did not give its agreement to the tender.

In Angola, Dermalog was also accused of incompetence to maintain an efficient system after an upgrade.

Ariel Lim, National Public Transport Coalition president, urged Congress and the Senate investigate Dermalog in connection with the unresolved issues in the implementation of the LTMS project that have repeatedly  disrupted the operations of the LTO.

After 14 extensions and two-and-half years delay, Dermalog has yet to deliver in full the integrated system of the IT infrastructure despite substantial payment made by the LTO, amounting to 80% of the P3.4-billion contract, he said.

“LTO’s processes are being adjusted to accommodate the functionalities of the new system, These adjustments show the contractor’s (Dermalog) lack of detailed study before developing the new system,” he added.