LTO license plates program to continue despite COA disallowance
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) will continue implementing its program for new license plates for motor vehicles, despite a recent Commission of Audit (COA) notice saying the 2013 deal with the supplier was “illegal,” and disallowing previous payments the LTO made to the supplier in 2014.
In an interview on Monday, Land Transportation Office (LTO) spokesperson Jason Salvador said despite the July 13 disallowance notice, “we cannot just discontinue the plate standardization program.”
“For one, a lot of cars will be left with no plates. We cannot afford that, so we will continue [with the program]. What we will do is we will appeal the findings of the COA’s disallowance, and we are confident that they will see the light and understand that everything is above board and that we should continue in the interest of public service,” Salvador said.
Earlier, a July 13 COA notice deemed in violation of the Auditing Code, the LTO’s 2013 license plate contract with supplier Power Plates Development Concepts Incorporated-J. Knieriem BV-Goes (PPI-JKG), as the COA found it was awarded without an allotment under the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
In the same notice, the COA disallowed around P477 million the LTO paid the PPI-JKG in 2014, for not adhering to procedures set under the Government Procurement Act.
The COA gave the LTO six months to “settle” or appeal the disallowance.
Last April, the COA already issued to the LTO a notice suspending further payments to the PPI-JKG, when LTO failed to provide pertinent documents on the contract.
Salvador said LTO’s appeal to the July COA disallowance would include the documents that they’ve already submitted previously to appeal the notice of suspension of payment. Salvador also cited a recent Supreme Court ruling validating the LTO’s position.
The Supreme Court recently dismissed a May 2014 petition filed against the license plate standardization program, which claimed the program had insufficient allotment in the 2014 budget. The high court’s decision upheld LTO’s argument that the Congress allotted P4.8 Billion for the implementation of the project under the 2014 national budget, and that the project was entered into on February 2014, after the 2014 budget started taking effect.
Salvador also clarified that there was no “explicit” order to stop the plate standardization program, either from COA or the Supreme Court.
Salvador assured motorists that the COA notices on the license plates program were “nothing to worry about.” “We would just like to appeal to the public to bear with us. There are some perceived delays with the replacement of plates, but this is because of other things. We’ve already seen the deficiencies and we are trying to cure it,” the spokesperson said.
“We will also …. talk to our supplier just to bear with us and continue supplying the plates for the public’s sake,” Salvador said.
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