A very personal blog

Claiming my confiscated driver’s license at Manila City Hall

June 18 (Friday) – I got caught entering the PUV lane at Taft ave. entering Lagusnilad. It was our first time in this part of Manila, it was night time as well, and Waze told us to keep left on the road. It was an honest mistake, I didn’t notice the sign, so yeah my bad.

I learned that if you talked nicely enough to the enforcer they can bring down your penalty to 500 (or zero if you kotong). But since #NoToKotong tayo lol and I really have no qualms with getting a ticket (cos, uhm, justice) we accepted the situation. There’s about three violations he could write me up for – wrong turn, disregarding lane markings, or disobeying traffic signs – and he gave me the one with the cheapest penalty, at least according to him, so we went with that. I don’t really know much about these violations and how to assert what’s right in this situation but at least I know we did right by not bribing him.

So. The enforcer told me to go back for my license after 5 days just to be sure that my license has already been turned over to the MTPB office. The ticket is only good for 5 working days too and if you claim beyond that you’ll incur a daily penalty.

June 28 (Monday) – Came to Manila City Hall to retrieve my license. It’s 6 working days past the day I was apprehended so I was expecting a late penalty.

7:30AM – arrived at the City Hall to line up. My husband came with me and we took a GrabTaxi to the place. We alighted at the back of the City Hall (along Antonio Villegas st.) across SM Manila. We asked one of the officers there where to line up for DL claiming and he pointed us to the other side of the building, but not before commenting on us WEARING SLIPPERS, asking if SAKIN DAW BA TONG TICKET, and remarking that KUNG GUSTO NYO PATULONG BALIK KAYO SAKIN. 

Aga aga bulok agad sasalubong sayo.

The line for claiming DL is by the gate facing Taft Ave, near Lagusnilad underpass, and it stretches aaaall around the block. It’s only 7:30AM ha. We first went to the gate to confirm where the line is and also to ask if I’m gonna be allowed in since I’m wearing slippers. The guard says OO NAMAN DITO LANG NAMAN KAYO SA BUNGAD. Thank you!

Here’s the situation when we arrived. Tbh, we didn’t expect there’d be so much people with this business.

07:50 AM – An officer gives us queue numbers. I’m 132nd in line.

He doesn’t take our tickets yet. He just marks them with a number and crosses that number on his list. They say it’s just a headcount cos they have a cutoff of 300 people per day. The number doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be the 132nd person to get accommodated cos the papers still get “jumbled” inside. Uhuh, we all know why.

Segue: The lamp posts here are so cute they’re designed to look like the city hall clock tower.

07:58 AM – line starts moving!

09:00 AM – around this time, the officer comes back to get our tickets. He takes them by batch of I don’t know how many and we’re told to wait for our names to be called.

10:02 AM – my name was called and I was handed my SOA (Statement of Account) and was told to get into another line, this time to enter the compound for payment processing.

10:45 AM – I’m finally inside. 

I presented my SOA and ticket to one of the counters and paid 500 pesos for the violation. I was charged 500 pesos only with no late penalty. Apparently, they recorded my apprehension date as June 21 instead of June 18, so I’m still on time. Must’ve been the day they received the report. Oh well, works for me but it bothers me that the apprehension date in their system is now inaccurate.

He then gave me the Official Receipt in return, told me to have it photocopied, and return the copy to him. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! They can’t just photocopy the OR on their side, they’ll tell you to go to this hallway where there’s a photocopier by the restroom, pay 2 pesos for the xerox, and go back to the same window to give the copy. Sobrang hassle.

Siguro they made the process extremely troublesome so we’d be more careful on the road next time. Or para mangotong ka na lang next time para di ka mahassle. That and they want to get loads of kickback from the photocopier too (I wonder which executive owns it). And most importantly, they wanna keep the city hall thriving with inefficiencies cos that’s how they make bank. Our taxes are not enough, they have to extort us too. There’s no point complaining about the rotten system because it was built that way. And the fact that people are complaining means they’re succeeding. Kaching kaching. I hate Manila.

Figure this, let’s say on average they can accommodate 150 people in line (I’m #132 that day and the line didn’t end with me). And each of them pays at least 500 in fine + 2 pesos for xerox, that easily gives you at least 75k per day.

MTPB is earning at least 75k a day from violators alone.
In a week that’s 375k.
In a month that’s around 1.5 million. 
AT LEAST 1.5 million.
And yet traffic keeps getting worse.

11:30 AM – finally got my license back. After 4 freaking hours.

It’s a good learning experience, being subjected to this kind of suffering hahaha. I have so many takeaways from this horrible experience, the most blaring one being how hopelessly corrupted this city is. And the rest of the country actually. While waiting in line, I witnessed someone get escorted to a “backdoor” because of his connection. As in he was approached in line and made chika pa…

“BAT KA KASI NAGPAHULI” tawa tawa pa sila,
“OSYA, SAMA KA SAKIN” and off they went ahead all of us.
One person in line asked the officer “SIR, START NA PO BA?” just to get his attention but of course he was blatantly ignored.
Imagine the chismisan in line, sobrang walang hiya no haha

And that’s not the first time it happened while waiting in line. Makes you wonder how deeply rooted the network of perversion is within the city hall. Just one connection, one rotten soul who would agree to be your fixer reveals a lot about the gravity of corruption inside. Cos it doesn’t take just one person to grant you special privileges. It takes someone who knows someone who knows someone… who can move your paper along to the top of the pile. And God knows how many people allowed for that paper to slip by, who turned a blind eye, right with this poster plastered at every wall in the hall.

They’re all full of campaigns but not a lot of shame.

It’s a sickening reality we live in. People who are willing to comply are slapped with such obvious disregard for integrity and it just leaves you hopeless, kills your spirit. No wonder the city hall is shaped like a coffin.

And thaaaaat’s how it went for me. 4 hours on a Monday. Not sure about other days, maybe I just came at the wrong day of the week and the lines are shorter when it’s another weekday.

To thank you for reaching this part, let me summarize the process for you and give you some tips:

The process:

  • Line up and wait for an officer to give you a queue number, he’ll write a number on the upper portion of your ticket.
  • Wait for an officer to collect your tickets. Once it’s in, position yourself near the announcer so you can hear your name clearly.
  • Wait for your name to be called, you will be given your ticket back plus your SOA which says how much you have to pay.
  • You’ll be asked to line up for payment
  • Present your ticket + SOA to the payment window and settle your payment
  • You’ll be given an official receipt
  • Have this receipt photocopied (for 2 pesos) at the photocopier by the restrooms
  • Go back to the window and give the copy. Keep the original receipt with you.
  • Wait for your name to be called, you’ll finally be handed your driver’s license.
  • Get out of the city hall quick
  • Walk to SM Manila to freshen up or eat, but only briefly cos it’s not really fresh in there.
  • Go home, take a shower, and vow to leave this country cos it sucks here char
  • Do what is right, don’t get swayed by devils in uniform.
  • If you know someone – forget it. This is not the right time to use your “network” you shameless prick. 
  • Finally, be more careful and mindful of the road next time 🙂