Why you should know your blood type before renewing your license

For one, it's now included in the new ID card information
by Sharleen Banzon | Aug 1, 2018

Finding myself with three hours to kill, I decided to renew my driver's license at SM North EDSA last month, even if it was still valid for another 30 days. "Basta po within 60 days of expiration, pwede nang mag-renew," said an Land Transportation Office personnel at the Driver's License Renewal Center (DLRC).

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It was a weekday, there weren't too many applicants, and the queue was moving along at a steady pace. In the encoding section, however, one question was causing a slight holdup: "Ano po ang blood type niyo?"

Blood typing was not part of the required medical examination prior to license renewal, so understandably, many of the applicants were caught off-guard by the question. Here were some of the responses I heard:

"Naku...hindi ko po alam, boss."

"O+ na lang po siguro ang ilagay niyo."

"May positive-negative pa pala. Positive po yata."

"Ano ba yan...basta pula ang dugo ko." (No kidding.)

Thankfully, the LTO encoding personnel had the good sense to leave the 'Blood Type' field blank when it was obvious that an applicant wasn't entirely positive about his or her answer. I'm taking this to mean that it's not mandatory information—at least not yet.

In October 2017, Congress approved on its third and final reading House Bill 1530, "which mandates all government agencies to indicate the blood type of the individual applying for an identification card, certificate, and license." The main purpose of this is "to help enable immediate blood transfusion during accidents and other medical emergency situations."

Upon the enactment of the measure, an individual is required "to secure a certificate from a pathologist to validate [his or her] blood type," which shall be included in the following government-issued documents: driver's license, birth certificate, Philippine passport, Philippine National Police (PNP) firearms license, and ID cards issued by the Social Security System (SSS), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), among others.

But there's another compelling reason to undergo blood typing as soon as possible, even if your driver's license is not yet due for renewal. Medical professionals will always perform blood typing on patients and blood donors alike before any transfusion or donation procedure. If you already know your blood type, however, and you find out that a family member, a friend, or even a stranger with the same blood type requires an emergency transfusion, you will be able to volunteer yourself as a potential blood donor immediately.

Do you know your blood type already? And what do you think of the proposed measure to include it in driver's licenses and other government-issued documents?

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PHOTO: Sharleen Banzon
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