Special plate for your brand new vehicle? Yes, you can get that… at a price

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Special plates, more commonly known as vanity plates, have long been a subject of debate. Whether they are acquired “legally” or through “under the table” means was the argument, but let’s put those aside for now. Most of us might have missed it, but apparently, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has made it legal for brand new vehicle owners to request such plates. At a pretty hefty cost.

Special plates can have a combination of 3 letters and 2, 3, or 4 numerical digits

First filed as Administrative Order (AO) No. 2022-040 on June 17, 2022, and released as Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2022-2355, the “Revised Guidelines and Procedures in the Issuance of Optional Motor Vehicle Special Plates (OMVSP)” has been in effect since June 21, 2022. But why was it finally made legal with clear-cut rules? Income and revenue, ladies and gentlemen.

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According to AO 2022-040, since a lot of brand new vehicle owners want to obtain special plates, they decided to legalize the process of acquiring one and make it “a welcome opportunity for the government to increase its revenue”. For those who want to have a combination of any 3 letters plus a combination of 2, 3, or 4 numbers, you can get your plate of choice if 1.) it is not taken yet, and 2.) if you’re willing to pay the price. Everything comes at a price, right?

Lto License Plate Storage

For 3 letters plus 3 numeric characters, that will cost you PHP 15,000. If you want 3 letters and 2 numbers, then that’s PHP 25,000. And if you want 3 letters plus 4 numbers, that can be yours for the incredible price of PHP 35,000. It’s worth noting that whether for 2, 3, or 4 numbers, they cannot be sequential zeros, and again, the special plate can only be granted if the requested combination has not been taken yet.

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Yet another bit of information to remember is that the vehicle owner will have to process this him/herself. The only “participation” of the dealership is that they must be informed of the buyer’s intent to get a special plate because if the process of registration is handled as normal by the dealership, a special plate can no longer be requested after the issuance of the vehicle’s Official Receipt (OR).

In case you’re interested, you can find the requirements and the steps in acquiring a special plate from the LTO here. Oh, and one last thing, the MC clearly states that “No OMVSP that carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency or which has sexual, racial, profane, lewd, inappropriate meanings shall be issued”, so for you people who might have some ideas that fall under these criteria, don’t bother.

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Vanity has a price, indeed. But hey, if you really want it, now you can finally get it, and legally at that. Now if we can only get a figure of how much revenue the government will make from this, that would be a very interesting thing to know.

Mikko Juangco
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