LTO keen on 24-hour plate-making facility operations to address ongoing backlogs

License plate woes of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) continue as we speak. The sheer number of backlogs already looks insurmountable with the agency having to play catch-up just to keep up. An idea has been put forward, though, and that is to implement and maintain 24-hour operations of its plate-stamping facilities to make a dent in the backlog numbers.

Plate-stamping facilities of LTO eyed to operate full 24-hour days

Lto license Plate Making Facility Status October 2023 Main 00 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

During a hearing with the House Committee on Transportation last week, the idea of implementing a 24-hour schedule of operations of the plate-making facilities was put forward by LTO Property Section Head Clarissa Ogsimer. Currently, about 28,000 plates are being produced daily on a non-round-the-clock schedule, but this is proving to be lacking in the efforts to curb the backlog of both motor vehicle and motorcycle license plates. Many vehicle owners have already waited years to get theirs and continue to wait, and this is what the agency needs to urgently address.

“Our recommendation to address the backlogs on the vehicle plates: to accelerate production, LTO will shift to a 24-hour operation. The plant will operate on a three-shift model, the overall capacity will increase from 38,000 to 48,600 plates per day or a 27.9 (percent) increase in plant productivity,” Ogsimer explained at the hearing.

Lto Mall Distribution Unclaimed License Plate Inline 03 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

With a 24-hour operation(s), the daily output of plates will be increased anywhere between 38,000 to 48,600, according to the LTO’s estimates. If a 38,000 output can be reached and maintained, the current 12.5¬†million¬†backlog might finally be addressed by – optimistically – around the 3rd quarter of next year, 2025. However, if a higher output of 48,600 plates daily can be managed, then that can hasten the process rather dramatically.

“This shift will enable the agency to complete the production of the entire backlog before the end of the second quarter of 2025. We plan to also to train local personnel to maintain robots and embossing machines and fast-track the procurement of maintenance services to ensure continuous operation. Given a 24-hour plant production operation, the agency can produce 3.7 million or 29.7 percent of the total backlog plates by mid-2024, and 8.8 million or 70.7 percent of the backlog plates by the end of 2024,” Ogsimer later added.

Lto Mall Distribution Unclaimed License Plate Main 00 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

As it stands, the LTO still needs to finish stamping and releasing 3,393,542 motor vehicle plates and 9,115,367 motorcycle plates. This makes for a total of 12,508,909 plates that make up the gigantic backlog that the agency is facing. Later during the hearing, LTO Chief Asst. Secretary Vigor Mendoza II clarified that newly purchased vehicles will not add to the backlog and that the above-mentioned numbers are only for old vehicles that are still using old plates to date.

Many promises, ideas, and “solutions” have been brought forward for many years now, but the fact remains that any solid plan has yet to produce the expected and long-awaited results. For whatever reason the LTO might have for the backlog to reach sky-high numbers is not something that is lost to anyone who has been waiting for plates, and it seems like the wait will simply continue.

In as optimistic a way as we can look at it, perhaps we should just simply ask “if” the license plates will be given at all and maybe hold back from asking “when”, at least until such time that we do see that the mountain of backlogs is being pummelled down to the size of an ant hill.

Mikko Juangco
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