If you've renewed your driver's license lately, you will definitely remember being charged P200 for the mandatory "medical examination." Without this, the Land Transportation Office won't issue you a fresh license card (which the agency hasn't been able to supply in a long while anyway, so...whatever).
The concept of a medical exam being required for the issuance of a driver's license is actually a good thing, because this is supposed to weed out those who are physically unfit to operate a motor vehicle from the qualified ones. Let's face it: No one wants to be rammed on the open highway by a driver who just suffered a heart attack at the wheel.
But that's if the medical exam is being conducted properly to begin with. According to many motorists, the so-called exam is nothing but a scam, with an examiner (hopefully somebody who took up a college course remotely related to medicine) casually asking questions about your health and then jotting down your answers as facts.
A guy by the name of Denis Du wrote us a message to say that his "medical checkup" at the LTO involved the nurse instructing him to read a line from a Snellen chart and then asking him to supply his blood pressure, height and weight--before telling him to pay the processing fee.
"With questions like that, I could have done my own self-examination," Du told us. "The whole thing took less than two minutes and cost P200."
Another motorist, Lorelie Defensor, sent us this grievance: "I took a leave of absence from work to get my nonprofessional driver's license at LTO Las Piñas. The medical exam fee was P200, and all I did was read some letters just a few feet away from me. Also paid P250 for a nonexistent test drive. Why do they get away with this? Why do we have to pay for a medical exam that is not remotely close to a medical exam? Why is this system being accepted? And why can't we do anything about this? Why do I have to be licensed by a mediocre organization that is not even abiding by the very law it is standing for? Because this is the Philippines? F*** that. Where do we go to complain? Where do we go to demand a change?"
And then there's this Facebook post from a dude named Michael Deakin, who shared this entertaining exchange today (in italics):
Driver's license medical exam (true story)
Nurse: Stand on the scale.
Me: On that bathroom scale?
Nurse: Yes. How much do you weigh?
Me: I don't know. You tell me.
Nurse: I can't see.
Me: Okay. Neither can I. How about you take my weight from the expired license minus 25kg? That should be okay.
Nurse: Okay. Now what's your height?
Me: I don't know. What does it say on my old license?
Nurse: (straining her eyes to look) Okay, you're 6'2".
Me: Oh, I grew an inch. Okay, thanks.
Nurse: Okay. Now wait for the doctor.
Me: Thank you.
Doctor: Sit down!
Doctor: (stares me right in the eyes) Do you wear glasses?
Me: (staring straight into the eyes of the doctor through my eyeglasses, sarcastically) No, doc!
Doctor: Okay. Do you take any maintenance medication?
Me: I don't remember their names.
Doctor: Okay, then no. Do you have high cholesterol or hypertension?
Me: Not since I lost 25kg a few minutes ago.
Doctor: Okay, good. But wait! What is your blood pressure?
Doctor: That's very good! Normal!
Me: Thank you, doc.
Doctor: Now go to Window 2.
That was the best P200 I have ever spent. To my lovely wife: Now that a licensed medical doctor has legally declared that I am an inch taller, with 20/20 vision, have no cholesterol or hypertension, and most importantly lost 25kg, can you please take me off the diet now?