Drive vs license plate ‘switchers’ nets 74By Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Police officials in the northern part of Metro Manila have impounded 74 public utility vehicles (PUVs) since the launching in March of an reinvigorated campaign against the switching of license plates.
Superintendent Erwin Emelo, head of the Northern Police District (NPD) traffic unit, told the Inquirer Tuesday that the drivers of the PUVs were apprehended in the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela after their license plates failed to match the vehicle model.
“We accost the [driver of the] vehicles if we see that their plate number is not appropriate [for] the model. For example, we accosted the driver of a Hyundai Accent taxi whose plate number started with a ‘T.’ Because the car was fairly new, we knew it was impossible for the vehicle to have that plate number since ‘T’ [plates are] for old vehicles,” he said.
According to him, the switching of license plates is quite common among PUV operators since it helps them save thousands of pesos.
“If they have, say, five taxis, they pay the franchise for only two of these and [then] they use the plate numbers that they are given interchangeably,” he explained.
Emelo said that most of the PUVs which were caught engaged in this illegal practice were from Paso de Blas in Valenzuela City.
Other hotspots included Edsa, Rizal Avenue and Deparo Road in Caloocan City, he added.
The crackdown was launched by the NPD traffic unit in cooperation with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority personnel who took the seized PUVs to their impounding area on Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City.
Emelo said that the PUVs would remain in the impounding area until their respective operators pay the necessary fines which range from P6,000 to P7,000.
However, he warned that the fines may go up depending on the number of violations committed by the vehicle owner.
Superintendent Ferdinand del Rosario, NPD public information officer, said the intensified campaign against the switching of license plates issued to passenger vehicles was in compliance with a directive issued by National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Alan Purisima.