THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) recently inaugurated an expanded Driver’s License Renewal Center (DLRC) inside SM Mall, which can process from 250 to 400 applications per day.

LTO 7 Director Raul Aguilos said the center will stay open from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

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“The normal processing of the renewal of license is 30 minutes only, provided that when a driver renews his or her license, there is no change in the name, address, or status, from professional to non-professional,” Aguilos said.

The operating hours start later than in other government offices, considering the DLRC is housed in a mall. But because it closes later than other government agencies, the office also gives regular workers time to renew their license when they get off from work.

A drug testing center owned by Harvey M. Osmeña provides the space, equipment and lights at SM without cost to the government, while the LTO will provide the staff and system.

The DLRC expansion, Aguilos said, is in line with LTO’s application to be certified as having met standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

To meet ISO standards, the LTO will have to cut transaction times and protect clients from fixers.

Assistant Regional Director Edgar Catarongan, who heads regional operations and the Regional Administrative and Adjudication Board, said the agency will file charges against those caught “fixing” LTO transactions.

Catarongan invoked Republic Act 9485 (Anti-Red Tape Law), which penalizes violators with imprisonment of as long as six years or fine of up to P200,000, or both.

Aguilos said the expanded DLRC has a waiting area that can seat 40, instead of only 12. (EOB)