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You see the first guy bought the car for his friend who was a seaman from Liloan, and then he transferred the ownership to the Seaman guy, but when I bought it from the second guy he never gave me the first guy’s OR, so I’m driving my wife to the airport and I get a little bit bold and run a yellow light and the traffic guy waves me over.
“Can I see your license, please? Ok, your registration? This OR says 2017 (that’s when I bought my 2016 Kia Rio from the 2nd guy). I need to see the one in 2018. You were supposed to register it in January 2018.”
“I didn’t know Sir. I thought the registration was current. I’m taking my wife to the airport. I’ll take care of this right away. What should I do?”
“I am supposed to impound the car. The registration is expired.”
He rocks back and forth on the souls of his shoes. I realize I am wearing my high-tech, glossy purple sunglasses I bought on Colon Street for 350 pesos. I take them off so he can see the whites of my remorseful eyes. We are at an impasse.
“What should I do Sir? I will take care of this right away.”
He rocked back and forth some more, and let’s just say, “We worked it out”; I promised to take care of it at LTO later that day, and I went on my way to the airport.
The next day I get up and go to the Emission Test place because I know I need that. They also put some tape on the engine block numbers (they call in “Stenciling”), charge me 450 pesos and I’m off to the next place, my insurance company.
My insurance company is on Osmena Circle in Cebu City; I have to park at Robinson’s Mall and “hoof it” to the insurance building. I talk to a couple of pretty young women with piles of papers on their desks and they type me a “Proof of Insurance” document. Ching Ching, 650 pesos.
I read somewhere on the internet that your insurance company would “Help” with your registration. I thought that meant telling me, or even going with me to each step. I played the “Old and Confused” role to the max. It didn’t help. I mean I didn’t drool or anything; I just tried to look old.
“Next you have to take the car to NBIS??? and have the car inspected.” It turned out not to be NBIS but the LTO Inspection site.
“Where is it? Can you tell me?”
“It’s in Mandaue Sir. (Mandaue is a very trafficky suburb of Cebu City) It’s by the Mandaue Wireless.”
“I’m sorry I don’t know where that is.”
“Maybe you can look it up on a map Sir.”
So much for “Help from Your Insurance Company.”
I decide not to do it until the next day. I enlist my maintenance guy, Dodong, from the Condominium where we live. He sort of knows where the place is, but he’s happy to get away from his daily routine and help me. He’s a nice guy, and I like him.
We drive around the industrial part of the city; Dodong asks a few guys and then we arrive at the LTO Inspection site. I fill out some papers, transfer my “stencils” to another paper and then it’s time to see the cashier. Not too bad, 100 pesos.
Luckily the place isn’t too busy. They test the turn signals and other lights and run it through a pretty thorough inspection. We wait a bit more and then get the final document and off we go to LTO, clear across the city near the South Bus Terminal. The traffic is terrible for a Wednesday afternoon, but I’m stoked. We’re really making progress now.
We can’t park at LTO; no parking space so we go to nearby E mall and park in the basement and hike the 4 blocks to the Land Transportation Office. At LTO the guard takes my license and gives me a number. This is where being a senior citizen has its perks. Though there are 25 people sitting in the room to have their documents evaluated, I get “Special No. 3.”
First, the Cashier collects 992 pesos and tells me to sit down in the Evaluation Area. We twiddle our thumbs for about 15 minutes and they call my name. When I get to the window, thinking that I’m about done, the same lady says, “Here. First I’m going to give you back this money. This car doesn’t need to be registered until the end of three years. That’s not until next year.”
“What the hey?” I’m thinking. “I went through all this for no reason?”
She smiles and says, “Where is the original OR from the Original owner in 2016?”
“I don’t know Maam. “ I show her all the papers I have; I didn’t buy the car from him. I’m the third owner and I bought it from Owner #2; his name was Pepito.”
She runs off and has a conversation with another LTO guy down the hall. Then they conference with a third person, return to the window and tell me they’ve determined that the Original OR is lost and that I need to get a duplicate
“How do I do that?”
“Go to the next building to the Records Department and ask to see Miss. Gonzalez; explain what’s happened and…” She looks at me and sees my wincing face. “Explain what happened???” I grimace.
“Here, she nods; I’ll write her a note.”
Miss Gonzalez has more papers on her desk than the National Library, but she drops what she’s doing, reads the note as I try to explain to her the chain of events that brought me to her office.
“Wait a minute, she nods. I’ll have to talk to my Supervisor.” I’m afraid to let her out of my sight so I follow her to a third building. The Supervisor is in a meeting.
“Follow Me. We’ll look for the Assistant Supervisor.”
The Assistant Supervisor is in. We explain what has happened. I think he’s heard all these stories before. He says, “Make him a document with all the information that was on the Original 2016 OR and come back here.”
In twenty minutes she returns with a blue and yellow document that looks sort of official and tells me…
“Now all you have to do is take this to an attorney and have him make an Affidavit of Loss. Make sure it has the OR number on it. Just staple the two together and keep it in your car.” I thank everyone and remember to return my “Special #3” plastic Senior Citizen card to the guy who gave it to me.
And that’s how I spent my morning today. Finding an attorney, telling her the story and getting 4 copies of an “Affidavit of Loss.” 1000 pesos and 2 ½ hours.
The documents are in my car’s glove box.
When I got home I read some more online about vehicle registration; my license plate starts with the letter A and ends with the number 1, so I get to go through this whole thing again the first week of January. It’s Murphy’s Law. I think to myself,
“I wonder if all the people I met will remember me? ”
And “Note to Self…stay away from yellow traffic lights.”