MANILA – The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has defended the integrity of its newly-issued vehicle license plates after complaints surfaced online that said the plates are flimsy.
LTO spokesperson Jason Salvador said the new plates are 22 millimeters thicker than the old plates.
The new plates are also made of aluminum substrate 1100, which is the internationally accepted standard for plates.
However, he emphasized that the new plates can be still be damaged when forced.
"Talagang mataas ang kalidad ng mga plaka natin ngayon. Ito ang plaka na ginagamit sa ibang bansa pero 'di natin dini-discount ang possiblity na nasisira rin siya," he said.
One of the complainants, Joel Buenrostro, recalled how he was shocked to see his plate bent after driving at a cruising speed through a knee-high flood in Quezon City last week.
"Pumasok ‘yung tubig sa grills ng sasakyan then magba-bounce sa may radiator that would cause the water to push the plate," he said.
He added that this never happened with his old plates.
LTO has invited Buenrostro to present his plate at LTO's main office so they can inspect it.
The transport agency is willing to replace the plate of Buenrostro and the other complainants at no cost if proven that the plate is substandard. The owner can still use the plate while a new plate will be ordered from the manufacturer.
Meanwhile, a bus driver, Manolo Garcia, discovered that his plate which contains the first letter of his plate and the barcode was cut. He speculates that some ambulant vendors may have sliced the plate when he refused to let them jump in.
"Napag-tripan ng mga vendor, pinuputol nila. Hindi kasi kami nagpapasakay ng mga vendor," he said.
According to Salvador, improper installation of screws might also cause damage to the features of the plate. The set of screws that comes with the plate makes it difficult to remove the plate.
He admits that there is a small percentage of vehicle types that won't be able to install the plate properly, which is why some plates will have to be bent when installed.
Salvador said LTO is getting different types of security bolts to fit different vehicles.
"Pwede butasan, ang importante hindi naapektuhan o maco-compromise 'yung mga security features o 'yung mga importanteng features ng plate," he said.
He also said the barcode on the plate works. These barcodes hold private information about the vehicle and the owner.