After 3 years late last October, it’s that time again to renew my driver’s license. Not exactly my favorite task in the world but I’m glad that we already have renewal offices around the metro which are way better compared to the district/ provincial ones. I was dead-set on renewing my license at the MRT Ayala station, since I found the one-hour process there 3 years ago a breeze, but then while doing research on the opening hours of their office, I chanced upon the license renewal center in SM Megamall. Silly me! I work right beside Mega, plus I walk by the license renewal office every single day, yet I forgot about it! Sheesh! Good thing I did my research. It’s located at Megamall Building A, right beside BDO (it’s outside of the mall), open from 9am-6pm with lunch break.
I went there during an office break, at 3pm to be exact, and there were 3 people ahead of me. Procedure is easy. Just follow the steps written on the walls and listen to the instructions given by the ladies in the counters. Short version of the procedure: Simply go to the counter, give your driver’s license, fill up the form, go to the medical center right beside it, pay the fee and give new form to doctor, wait for doctor to call you, have an eye exam, go back to the license renewal office, submit form, have your photo and signature taken, pay cashier then get your license. Don’t forget your old license and a pen.
Now here’s the clincher for me, which is also the main reason why I want to share my experience even though there are a lot of other blog posts on the subject. In my research, I chanced upon different blogs, which did better jobs of explaining the process than me. Now what’s amazing is that compared to them, I DID NOT PAY ANY DRUG TEST FEE. There was no drug test aka peeing in a cup procedure which means I saved P300! As in I just paid the P100 for the doctor’s fee + the P417 at the renewal office for a total of P517. I was a bit dumbfounded because I was totally prepared (but not willing since I don’t exactly see the point of their drug tests) to pay the drug test fee. But it never came. Amazing!! And yes, all of us applicants did not pay the drug test fee, lest you think it was an isolated case. Not one of us went to the restroom to pee in a cup. Is it possible that the non-sense drug test fee has actually been removed permanently or was this just a glitch in the system? To answer my own question: it is permanent! Woohoo! Thank you, LTO!
And, yes, it’s true that it only took roughly 30 minutes for everything to be processed. The office was air-conditioned and a lot of seats were provided for our convenience. A disadvantage I found though in renewing at these offices is that you can’t change your name there. I had to change mine but that needs to be done in the district offices (ending: I didn’t change my name anymore). Whatever original file they have on you, that’s what they’ll use so for first timers, make sure you input the right info (unlike me). Sure, the place is a tad bit drab and depressing, and the ladies in the counters don’t smile but that’s not as important as the quick processing time and easy-to-follow steps.
Times like these make me hopeful about our government offices and their services, just like how impressed I was with NBI’s fast, convenient and efficient NBI e-clearance. So, to my kababayans, let’s not lose hope in our government and country just yet. There is still hope, much hope as I see it.
Thank you LTO Driver’s License Renewal (Megamall) Team. Kudos to all of you!