The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is the executive government agency at the forefront of the Philippine transportation sector. It is the main department that oversees everything about the Philippine transportation system—from the development and maintenance to the expansion of safe, secure, and efficient transportation and communication infrastructures—enabling it as an effective instrument for national and economic recovery and progress.
Formerly known as the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), DOTr came to life as a standalone department after breaking away from all the operative units dealing with communication in 2016 when the Republic Act No. 10844 was signed into law. Since then, it has been solely responsible for the Philippine transportation sector, overseeing the operations and policies of numerous attached agencies related to the country’s road, rail, water, communication and aviation systems. This article will tell you more about the department, along with its history and its role in the country’s development, as well as the programs and services it offers.
What is DOTr?
DOTr stands for the Department of Transportation. It is one of the Philippines’ executive departments tasked with the management of transportation systems and infrastructures in the country. After breaking off all communication operative units by virtue of RA 10844, the former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) split into two separate departments: the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Following its establishment as DOTr, the agency became responsible solely for the creation and implementation of policies that are meant to ensure public safety and convenience on the road. It took over the task of building infrastructures and creating and implementing regulatory policies as well as enforcing traffic laws and regulations anywhere in the country.
The DOTr may not have been around for a long time, but it has a long and rich history behind it as one of the oldest agencies under the Philippine government
The DOTr was originally born as the Department of Public Welfare, which included the transportation and communications portfolio in January 1899, it soon became the Communicaciones y Obras Publicas (Communications and Public Works Department), grouping together Public Works, Transportation, and Communications under one single agency. By 1901, the Department of Commerce and Police was established to oversee the Philippine transportation and communications. Later in 1916, the Reorganization Act 2666 gave birth to the Department of Commerce and Communications (DOCC), effectively replacing the defunct Department of Commerce and Police and taking over its functions. By 1931, it became known as the Department of Public Works and Communications.
In 1944, under the Japanese occupation, the Department of Public Works and Communication became the Department of National Defense, Public Works, Communications and Labor. In 1945, it reverted back to being the Department of Public Works and Communications. It later became the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (DPWTC) in 1951. It first became the Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (MPWTC) in 1978 before it split into the Ministry of Public Works and Highways (MPWH) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) in 1979.
As a standalone department, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) was created as a means to promote a reliable and coordinated transport system for easier implementation of transportation-related programs. The agency was tasked with the registration and control of all types of motor vehicles (MV) including its registration and licensing. It was also the main overseer of the bus leasing program established at the time, as well as the operations of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the Metro Manila Transit Corporation (MMTC), and the Manila South Line of the PNR.
In 1987, the MOTC was reorganized and officially transformed into the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). Following the reorganization, the agency started allowing new entrants to operate cellular phone and landline services, to get the dilapidated taxi cabs off the Philippine streets.
In 2016, the then-DOTC changed into the DOTr we know, following the split into the DOTr and the DICT. Not much has changed since then except that in 2017, DOTr transferred its main operations from Manila to Mabalacat, Pampanga.
DOTr Mission, Vision, and Core Values
As an agency, the DOTr has always worked towards one vision: To be a world-class organization that provides integrated transportation, connecting individuals, islands, families, and communities together with an ecologically-friendly and globally competitive transportation system. It is with this goal in mind that the DOTr strives to provide internationally-competitive transportation networks that are at par with international standards and are adaptable to changing road conditions.
In operating as an executive agency, the DOTr has always strived to operate while embodying the following core values:
- Value for customer satisfaction
DOTr Functions and Responsibilities
From the time it was created up until its conversion into the DOTr, the agency has always been in charge of ensuring the seamless operations of the Philippine transportation system. From the promotion and development of a reliable and coordinated transportation system to the planning, programming, and implementation of various programs and projects, the DOTr has been successfully carrying out its mandate to ensure safety and convenience on the road, regardless if it’s for the drivers, the passengers, or the pedestrian.
Other than these, some of the main functions and responsibilities of DOTr as an agency are as follows:
- Serving as the primary policy, planning, programming, coordinating, implementing and administrative entity of the executive branch of the government regarding transportation
- Promoting, developing, and regulating transportation and communications systems
- Delivering fast, safe, efficient and reliable transportation and communications services
- Planning, formulating, developing, and improving national transportation policies and programs
- Regulating Industry and services related to transportation including toll gates, roads, and bridges
- Infrastructure development, including building, maintaining, operating, managing, monitoring and controlling all public works projects related to transportation
- Implementing traffic management strategies for public and private vehicles
- International cooperation
- Monitoring and enforcing traffic laws, such as speed limits and parking regulations Representing the Philippines in international transportation forums like the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
DOTr Sectoral and Attached Agencies
Some of the sectoral and attached agencies through which the DOTr routes and implements their projects include:
- Land Transportation Office (LTO) (http://www.lto.gov.ph/)
The LTO promotes the safety and comfort of the traveling public while regulating, collecting fees, and implementing laws with respect to motor vehicles.
- Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) (http://www.ltfrb.gov.ph/)
The LTFRB was created with the goal of simplifying and keeping the standards of the land transportation industry franchising system to ensure that higher safety standards are observed for land travel.
- Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) (http://www.coastguard.gov.ph/)
The PCG is an armed and uniformed service tasked with enforcing all applicable laws within the Philippine waters, including conducting maritime security operations, safeguarding of life and property at sea, and protecting the marine environment and resources.
- Office for Transportation Security (OTS) (http://www.ots.gov.ph/)
The OTS is the single authority responsible for the security of all transportation systems in the country, including, but not limited to Civil Aviation, Sea Transport and Maritime Infrastructure, Land Transportation, and Rail System and Infrastructure.
- Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) (http://www.caap.gov.ph/)
The CAAP is an independent regulatory body with quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers, giving it the responsibility of implementing policies and setting comprehensive, clear and impartial rules and regulations on civil aviation in order to ensure safe, economical, and efficient air travel.
- Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) (http://www.miaa.gov.ph/)
The MIAA was created to provides safe, efficient, and reliable airport facilities as well as promote the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as a center for international trade and tourism.
- Clark International Airport Corporation (https://ciac.gov.ph/)
The CIAC was created to offer quality management of airport infrastructure and services to help realize Clark Airport’s vision to be the premier world-class airport of the Philippines offering competitive aviation services in the Asia Pacific Region.
- Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) (http://www.cab.gov.ph/)
The CAB is tasked with regulating, promoting, and developing the economic aspects of civil aviation including leasing, purchasing, and selling of aircrafts as well as overseeing consolidations and mergers of domestic air carriers.
- Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) (http://www.mactan-cebuairport.com.ph/)
The MCIAA is in charge of operating and maintaining airport safety and security and implementing airport rules and regulations in Mactan International Airport—the premier gateway to Central Visayas.
- Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) (https://trb.gov.ph/)
The TRB supervises and regulates the construction, operation, and maintenance of all toll facilities in the country, and is also responsible for the collection of toll fees.
- Office of Transport Cooperatives (OTC)
The OTC, originally known as the Committee on Transport Cooperatives, was created to integrate the transport cooperatives program into the public transport and transit system and achieve economies of scale with respect to fuel consumption.
- Philippine National Railways (PNR) (http://www.pnr.gov.ph/)
The PNR was created to provide a nationwide railway transportation system. At present, there are plans to create new lines connecting the rapidly developing areas in Central Luzon and the South Tagalog regions with Metro Manila.
- Light Rail Transit Transit Authority (LRTA) (http://www.lrta.gov.ph/)
The LRTA was created in order to oversee the construction and operation of the Light Rail Transit project extending from Baclaran in Pasay City, to Monumento in Caloocan. Since then, the LRTA’s mandate has expanded to encompass other light rail projects in Metro-Manila.
- Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) (http://www.ppa.com.ph/)
The PPA is the primary government agency concerned with the planning and development of the country’s seaports as well as the integration and coordination of all ports nationwide, except for those in Cebu.
- Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) (http://www.marina.gov.ph/)
The MARINA oversees the promotion and development of the maritime industry while providing effective regulation of shipping enterprises. Since its establishment, it has taken on the task of issuing Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC), regulating the operations of domestic and overseas water carriers and vessels while addressing safety concerns and enforcing maritime law.
- Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) (http://www.cpa.gov.ph/)
The CPA was created to administer all ports located in Cebu Province, effectively separating these ports from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) system.
- Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) (http://www.pmma.edu.ph/)
The PMMA, formerly known as the Philippine Nautical School, was created in hopes of producing efficient and well-trained merchant marine officers with skills that are at par with international standards. The PMMA graduates are also meant to spearhead Philippine efforts in international trade while training to serve as auxiliary naval officers during times of conflict.
Project Management Office
- Metro Rail Transit (MRT) (http://www.dotcmrt3.gov.ph)
MRT3, designated as the Blue Line, is also called the EDSA MRT, or Metrostar Express. It was built and operated by the DOTC through a Build-Lease-Transfer contract with the privately owned Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC). It has 13 stations on a 16.9 km rail system along Edsa from North Ave., Quezon City to Taft Ave., Pasay City.
DOTr Programs and Services
The following are programs and services offered and initiated by the DOTr:
Part of the responsibilities of DOTr is the public bidding for government projects. The agency is in-charge of providing information about these projects and managing and facilitating the bidding process. As part of its services, the department also provides a list of all upcoming public biddings, the opening and closing dates, project description, and contact information on the website at least one month before the opening date for the bidding so the interested bidders can prepare. They also handle the submission and evaluation of bids as well as the awarding of contracts to the winning bidder.
Alternative Methods of Procurement
The DOTr is also in-charge of the procurement of goods and services through alternative methods. These include negotiated procurements, direct contracting, and competitive tendering.
Blacklisting of Contractors
The department also blacklists contractors who have breached the terms of their contract, failed to complete work, caused delays, or are under investigation for corruption, prohibiting them from bidding for new contracts with the department for a specified period. The ban depends on the severity of the offense, with a maximum ban of five years.
Public works that receive foreign funding are subjected to a competitive bidding process which is also managed by the DOTr.
Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Projects
The DOTr also handles PPP projects—or those public work projects financed by the private sector. These projects usually begin with an idea for the structure before the agency issues a request for proposal (RFP), which outlines the project’s required specifications and design parameters.
Some of the agency’s ongoing projects include:
Metro Manila Subway
The Metro Manila Subway, originally named Mega Manila Subway, is a project meant to build an underground rapid transit line initially in Metro Manila in the Philippines.
PNR North-South Commuter Railway
The North–South Commuter Railway is an ongoing commuter rail project managed by the DOTr. It was meant to build commuter rails from New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to Calamba, Laguna. The North Line will also have a length of 106-kilometer, from Tutuban in Manila to New Clark City, and is expected to be completed by 2021 while the South Line will be reconstructed as an electrified standard-gauge full double-track line.
Video: DOTr Projects
In recent years, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has relentlessly worked towards the initiation and completion of numerous projects, in a bid to catch up to its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of development.
Learn more about these projects by watching the video below:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s a list of the common questions and answers regarding the Department of Transportation (DOTr):
1. What does DOTr do in the Philippines?
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is a Philippine government agency that focuses on the creation, development, operation, and maintenance of most transportation and communications infrastructure in the country.
2. Is the LTO under the DOTr?
Yes, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is an agency of the Philippine government attached to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and is the agency responsible for all land transportation in the country.
3. What are the roles and functions of DOTr?
The DOTr is responsible for overseeing the creation, planning, and coordination of all transportation projects in the country. The agency also sets the regulatory standards for safety and operation for various modes of transportation.
4. Are DOTr and DOTC the same?
Yes and no. The DOTr used to be DOTC prior to 2016. It became somehow different when the DOTC split into two agencies: the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
5. What are the land transport agencies in the Philippines?
When it comes to land transport, the DOTr has the following attached agencies supporting it:
- Land Transportation Office (LTO)
- Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
- Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)
- Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG)
- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
- Road Board
6. What is the difference between LTO and LTFRB?
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) oversees the registration, licensing, and regulation of private cars in the country, whereas the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is responsible for public vehicles. However, these two agencies have overlapping responsibilities when it comes to the issuance of professional licenses to drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs).
7. What agencies of the government regulate land transportation in the Philippines?
The Department of Transportation is responsible for overseeing the regulation and development of land-, air-, rail-, and sea-based transportation systems in the country.
8. Is LRT owned by the government?
Yes. At present, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) is in charge of the country’s premiere mass transit system. It provides reliable, efficient, and environment-friendly services to the people moving around in Metro Manila.
As the department responsible for the regulation and supervision of all modes of transportation, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) plays an important role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the country’s transport system. This covers all vehicles on air, land, and sea. It also oversees the construction and maintenance of the country’s transportation infrastructure, implements policies, plans and projects, and provides safety standards, regulation, licensing and enforcement of transportation services and vehicles.
In addition, the DOTr oversees the operation, regulation, and management of airports, railways, shipping ports, and highways throughout the Philippines. It is led by the Secretary of Transportation, along with two (2) Undersecretaries and four (4) assistant secretaries. It has offices located in Metro Manila and in the regions outside the capital. The DOTr is also assisted by a number of agencies and offices, including the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), among others.
As an agency meant to help Filipinos, the DOTr and its attached agencies offer programs and services that make traveling on public transport safe, reliable, and efficient. The agency also ensures that all road users, be it drivers, passengers, or pedestrians, are protected from accidents by strict regulation and enforcement of traffic laws.
In case you have any questions or concerns regarding their programs and services, please reach out to DOTr directly via the following:
Department of Transportation (DOTr)
Office Address: The Columbia Tower, Brgy. Wack-wack, Ortigas Avenue, 1555 Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Official Website: www.dotr.gov.ph
Department of Transportation (DOTr) – CAR Office
Office Address: 2nd Flr. Post Office Bldg., Upper Session Road, Baguio City
Email Address: email@example.com
Department of Transportation (DOTr) – CARAGA Office
Office Address: Capitol Avenue, Butuan City
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org