LTO chief now says DIY plates against the law
A day after saying that car and motorcycle owners could “create” their temporary plate numbers to address a looming supply shortage by June and July, Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Jose Arturo Tugade on Thursday clarified that individuals are not allowed under the law to print or make their license plates.
At a press briefing, Tugade said owners of new motor vehicles and motorcycles may use the “temporary plate” issued by the vehicle dealers.
“The temporary plate contains the conduction sticker for motor vehicles, while for motorcycles, it has the motor vehicle file number,” Tugade said.
In an interview with cable news channel ANC on Wednesday, the transport official cited that one of the LTO’s stopgap plans was to allow motorcycle owners to “create” their plate numbers.
“One of the contingencies we have in place is to allow the temporary issuances of motor vehicle plates and motorcycle plates by the owner. So, for example, the 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,” he said.
But as a general rule, the LTO chief later explained in the Thursday briefing, individuals are not allowed to print or make their license plates.
The exception to this rule are vehicle owners whose license plates were lost, stolen or mutilated, as they would need to go to an LTO office to request an authorization to use improvised plates.
“Once you receive the authorization, you can make the improvised plate for the time being,” he said.
The LTO warned that those found using improvised plates without authorization from the agency would be fined P5,000 for violating its Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01.
Motorists who are allowed to use the improvised plate would need to present the authorization letter along with the car registration and official receipt to law enforcers who would apprehend them on the road.
According to the LTO’s latest inventory, there are only a million plates left for motorcycles nationwide and 300,000 plates for motor vehicles. These supplies are projected to run out by June and July, respectively.
In Congress, Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday cautioned the LTO against its contingency measures to address the agency’s backlog, expressing dismay over the agency’s admission that it was struggling to cope with the backlog of license plates.
Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, did not hide her disgust over the latest shortfall to hit the LTO.
“From license cards to motorcycle plates and car plates, the LTO has earned a notorious reputation for delivering short of what is expected,” she pointed out.
Poe said she was not totally convinced by the LTO chief’s explanation blaming the purported shortage of plates to delays on the part of the Department of Transportation and wanted the agency to come clean on the true status of its issuance of license plates and cards.
“We ask the LTO to give the public a complete report on its backlog on vehicle plates and license cards to give a complete picture of the issues it is facing,” she said. “The public expects to be notified of a timeline within which the LTO shall have cleared its backlog, and the measures it will undertake to do it.”
Poe reminded the LTO not to make the public suffer for problems that they did not cause.
“Motorists pay for their license plate and license. It is unacceptable that in the end, the solution that LTO comes up with is for them to print their own plate or card,” she said.