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Top Gear Philippines

LTO medical exam

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!
Me: Okay.
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?
Me: 120/80.
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?

Well, wow.


Vernon B. Sarne
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