After the shortage of plastic cards for driver’s licenses, the supply of LTO license plates is also in shambles. Following an interview, agency Chief Jay Art Tugade said that according to their forecast, the current supply of plates that they have for motorcycles may likely be depleted by June, and those for motor vehicles by July of this year.
LTO has informed the DOTr of the plate supply situation
While this is not yet set in stone, nor is it 100% certain, a forecast such as this is indeed pretty grim. The Land Transportation Office has already informed the Department of Transportation about the said forecast and if all goes in accordance with the planning, Sec. Tugade is hopeful that this shortage – rather, the depletion of supply – will be avoided. As it stands, the replenishment requires an estimated budget of PHP 4.5B, and that amount falls under the jurisdiction of the DOTr’s Central Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and is no longer internally within the LTO.
The handling of such big budget requests and procurements comes after a special order from the DOTr, citing “good governance” and that any requests above PHP 50M will be handled by the BAC. With only less than two months before the perceived shortage, and when asked about recommending that the special order be lifted and the process be returned to the Land Transportation Office’s jurisdiction, Sec. Tugade said “…almost every week, LTO sent letters to DOTr pleading, requesting that they reconsider the special order because we did not want to come to this, to come to a situation wherein we would run out of plastic cards and license plates. Our requests went unheeded and were denied (sic)”.
With the likely return of the “Republika ng Walang Plaka” problem, the LTO is already preparing a contingency plan to address the problem. The plan: the agency will allow motorcycle and motor vehicle owners to create their own, makeshift license plates while the actual ones have not been released to them yet. The said makeshift pieces will have to indicate the license plate numbers (and letters) that have been assigned to the vehicle and it likewise has to display the MV file number.
Asked if this is a dangerous thing to allow, Tugade acknowledged that yes, it may be so, but this is the only way (for now) that the agency will be able to readily identify a motorcycle or motor vehicle. In conjunction with the Conduction Sticker and the Certificate of Registration, these will be used to confirm if the information is legitimate and legal. That said, the agency is also considering the possibility of sticking Conduction Stickers on motorcycles as well if the plate supply does indeed run out.
Yes, we are staring at the same predicament yet again. It seems that there is so much difficulty in ridding the LTO of such “disasters”, but Sec. Tugade was rather clear that he and his agency are doing what they can to address these situations and are finding ways to avoid them from happening (again) in the future. In many instances, a forecast is somewhat reliable, but this is one that we hope is not.