MANILA - The Land Transportation Office (LTO) admitted on Wednesday it is facing a shortage of number plates for motorcycles.
In a House hearing for the Department of Transportation’s budget, LTO chief Edgar Galvante said they were defunded in the country's 2022 spending plan approved by the Department of Budget and Management.
“Ang malaki po naming problema is 'yung sa motorcycles. Sa projection po ng LTO, kailangan ng 18 million plates hanggang June 30, 2022. Bagamat humingi po tayo ng pondo, sa kasamaang palad, hindi po tayo napagbigyan dito," Galvante told lawmakers.
He said they have 3.6 million plates for motorcycles and they are hoping Congress can help fund the shortfall.
”Nakagawa na po ang LTO ng 3.6 million. 'Yun po sanang kakulangan, gusto po sana natin itong i-contract out kasi po yung capacity ng ating planta hinsi kakayaning matugunan yung bulk ng plaka ng motorsiklo. Kaya po kung matutulungan po sana kami ng Kongreso na mahingi itong pondong ito.”
More than a year after its suspension, a revised set of implementing rules and regulations was drafted for Republic Act 11235, or the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Law.
In a 13-page document signed Galvante, riders are required to use decal number plates measuring 135 mm by 85 mm on the front of motorcycles. Rear plates are also mandated to measure 235 mm by 135 mm, which is larger than the ones currently in use.
The law, authored by Sen. Richard Gordon, was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in March 2019 but was suspended because of public pressure.
Thousands of motorcycle riders have protested, saying bigger front plates interfere with the aerodynamics of a motorcycle and could fly off at high speeds or by strong winds.
Galvante, during the hearing, claimed there is no backlog for plates for 4-wheeled vehicles.
“Kung po yun sa plaka ng mga 4-wheeled vehicles, 'yun pong mga sasakyang narehistro starting July 2016 onwards up to the present, kumbaga current na po tayo sa mga plaka niyan. Kung meron pong bagong sasakyan na hindi nagiisport ng bagong plaka, maaaring makipag-ugnayan po sila sa kanilang mga dealers kasi malamang po nasa kanila nasa dealership na mga plaka nila," he said.
Galvante said issuance of new replacement plates is also a problem of his department.
"Kailangan palitan na 'yung series nila kasi may pagkapermanente po ang plaka ng sasakayan. Gusto po sana naming ituon na ito doon sa porma bagong specification ng plaka ng sasakayan,” he explained.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee last March recommended the filing of graft and corruption charges against transportation officials involved in the delayed release of motorcycle number plates.
Gordon scolded LTO officials for "swindling" motorcycle owners who applied but never received their license plates for nearly 8 years.