LTO forecasts license plate shortage in June, July; makeshift plates possible
MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Wednesday warned of another possible shortage in license plates by June and July if the Department of Transportation (DOTr) fails to procure the necessary plates.
“Based on the forecast of LTO … insofar as the license plates are concerned, license plates will run out for motorcycles by June, and by July, for motor vehicles will be depleted as well,” said LTO chief Jay Art Tugade in an interview with ANC.
“And the DOTr has been fully informed of this situation because, again, since the budget for the procurement of license plates is 4.5 billion, it is the DOTr that is in charge of procuring these items,” he added.
When asked if this would result in another shortage of license plates, Tugade said that it might “if the procurement does not go in accordance with the planning.”
To address the looming shortage, Tugade said that the LTO is now working on contingencies, including the authorization of temporary plates provided by the owner themselves.
“So for example, ‘yung motorcycle owners, in the absence of a plate number, they can create a plate number, and on the plate number, it will say the motor vehicle file number of the motorcycle,” explained Tugade.
The plate numbers will then be verified by officials by matching them with the vehicle’s certificate of registration, which contains the file number, according to Tugade.
Tugade acknowledged, however, that several issues could arise with this approach, such as the chance that temporary plates would result in more crimes or even just the laborious procedure of counter-checking the temporary plates.
“This is one of the reasons why we should really push for the procurement of these license plates as much as possible. We should exert all effort to avoid a situation wherein we would run out of license plates,” said Tugade.
“So I’d like to take this opportunity to appeal to the DOTr to fast track and conclude the procurement of license plates,” it added.
To recall, the LTO is already facing another shortage, this time in driver’s licenses, affecting a total of 5.2 million motorists.
Tugade said that the LTO had already projected the said driver’s license shortage as early as Nov. 15, 2022, prompting the agency to form a procurement committee.
However, procurement woes embattled the LTO after the DOTr last January issued a special order mandating the LTO to defer procurement deals worth P50 million and above to the DOTr central office and its bids and awarding committee.
Tugade, in the interview, said that they repeatedly pleaded to the DOTr to reconsider the order, but such requests remained “unheeded and denied.”
The DOTr, for its part, vowed that the driver’s license cards would become available for delivery by July.
Apart from these shortages, the LTO is still currently addressing a past shortage in license plates, vowing to complete 90 percent of it by the end of 2023.