Wednesday, March 01, 2017

How to Clear Your MMDA Alarm for License Renewal

Reviving my blog because blogging is life. 

This is how an experiment of almost 3 years has finally come to an end.

DAY XX: Start of the Experiment
It was last August 2014 that I was traversing Manila with a friend and we were stopped by an MMDA Officer. As per suggested approach, I asked what was my violation and he shared the information freely and adding how much my violation will cost me. MMDA Officers need not to confiscate your license if you are stopped for having minor violations. I think they will only confiscate if you are either involved in a car accident or probably a major violation. So my fine is worth PHP 150. He said I can pay in any Metrobank branches within 7 days.

Check your violation and its corresponding fine here:
http://www.mmda.gov.ph/images/pdf/FAQ/Fines-and-Penalties.pdf 

So then I thought what if I don't pay my violation? Will they be inputting the violations in the system and have some implication in the future? Previous feedback from some friends of friends mention that they just ignored the ticket and it didn't have significant impact in their lives. I need to find out.

DAY 01: Renewing My License
Well. Here were are! Enter February 2017. I was able to find an LTO Satellite Office so I can renew my driver's license. Went to Ever Gotesco Commonwealth at around 1PM and found less than 10 adults in the room (there were a few kids and I'm pretty sure they were not there to apply for student's license as their feet can barely reach the floor from where they're sitting on).

I had my eyes checked and then the doctor mentioned that I was there at the perfect time - only a few folks come in at 1PM and 3/4PM. So if you're going to LTO Ever Commonwealth, be there at those hours. The eye test is already similar to optical shops and with new machines come a heftier fee - the medical fee costs PHP 350. No problem. I'm still within my budget.

And then I hear my name even before my bum gathered heat. I approached the counter and wham. "Ma'am. You have an MMDA Alert and this is preventing you from continuing the renewal process. You need to go to MMDA Office in Orense, Makati and clear your alarm. Once done, you can restart your license renewal." I cry. My violation from 2014 which I blatantly ignored is now haunting me with a promise of stress and unnecessary expense (hello, Uber or Grab).

DAY 02: Trying To Clear My Alarm and Redeeming My Pride
So! There. How do you settle your Violation? If you don't pay your MMDA violation, they add it to your name now. This, I'm sure of. I challenged them last 2014 and it looks like they do use the system now.
This is where you should be. There are multiple buildings around the area but
this is where your mission leads you.

MMDA Office Hours for clearing your violation is only until 5PM. They are open Mondays to Saturdays but I bet your license people flock in on Saturdays. I don't recommend that you go there early because this is not a case of "the early bird catches the worm". There is no lunch break and you better grab that opportunity. I went in at around 1:45PM and first thing the guard tells me is I need to have my license photocopied. Obviously, I didn't bring any. It was not mentioned on the website. There is a nearby photocopying station so I walked over and handed in my license. I got 2 copies because why not? There was no line so it was a fast transaction.

Back at the station, I filled out my form - name, address, license number, birthday, and phone number. Then you give it back to the receptionist and then they'll call you. Proceed to the Assessment Window (this is annoyingly called Window 2, where the heck is Window 1?!). Assessment person will tell you how much your violation fee is and you will proceed to...Window 1. Yes, Window 2 is Step 1 and Window 1 is Step 2.

There are 2 Window 1's in there. First is for the Violation Fee payment and the next one is for Clearance Fee payment. Clearance Fee is at PHP 30. It doesn't matter whether you've done your violation from 2 years ago. It has the same fee. I read in their flowchart online that if you have more than 3 unpaid violations, you are required to attend a seminar and from what I heard from my MMDA seatmates, you have to pay PHP 450 for that. It is scheduled 2x a week, with 2 sessions per day (7-11am and 1-5pm if I'm not mistaken).

After paying the Violation and Clearance Fee, you give your form in the Clearance Window. Wait for your name to get called and they will hand you out your Clearance Form after. It's a sigh of relief similar to getting your approved visa.

So I looked at my Certificate of Clearance and it says that it has 10 days of validity from date of issuance. What does this mean? I have to return to LTO ASAP and have my licensed renewed within 10 days.

Tips:
- Look for the MMDA Sports Gym / Sports Centre. Do not go to the other MMDA buildings, you are not intended to be there.
- Bring a photocopy of your license.
- Bring a pen as you need to fill out a form and sign the release book.
- Bring cash. Duh.
- Smile.
- Rejoice upon receipt of clearance form.

DAY 03: Renewing My License For Real
Armed with my Certificate of Clearance, my beautiful expired license, cash, a pen, and my medical form, I went to LTO San Juan (Aurora Blvd Branch) at around 11:55 AM and as it seems, my timing is perfect again. There were only a few people seated at the waiting area. There is no aircon here but it will not matter once I get my license. So I approached the "receptionist" and he stapled my driver's license to my medical form. I showed him my certificate of clearance which I had an adventure for and he just shrugged, "Okay na yan." I proceeded with Window 1 for assessment wherein  I just handed the lady my form. Please wait for your name to be called. Time check: 12 PM. Lady calls me at 12:11 PM and asks me to sign digitally and then have my photo taken. Well. That was quick. After 8 minutes, I get called to proceed to the Cashier and pay my renewal fee and late penalty. I was advised to call by June 2017 and that was it. In and out of LTO in 20 minutes.

They will return your license and will just issue you the receipt stating your new license has an expiration date 5 years from now. Ahhh, the power of a piece of paper. I am now guarding it with my life.

Total Expenses (PHP):
3 - Photocopying Fee
350 - Medical Fee (This is apparently the amount for mall-based LTO offices. At LTO San Juan, it costs PHP 200.)
150 - Violation Fee
30 - Clearance Fee
585 - License Fee
75 - Penalty Fee (because my license has expired already before I renewed it)
68 - Computer Fee

Total Time Spent:
Initial Renewal - 11 minutes (including medical check)
MMDA Clearance - 20 minutes
Legit Renewal - 20 minutes (no more medical check)

Wow. Life is an improvement when you go to the stations at 12PM onwards!