Industry > Mess

LTO explains why you still don’t have your plates

To defend its embattled chief amid calls to resign

We paid, we waited, we will wait some more. PHOTO FROM BUREAU OF CUSTOMS

This might interest you if you still haven’t received the new license plates you already paid for. As countless car owners haven’t seen a screw of said plates, the Land Transportation Office has once again come under fire. In particular, presidential fan club head House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has asked LTO chief Edgar Galvante to resign his post for his inability to deliver the plates.

So the LTO has issued a statement, which the agency has asked the media to “please share.”

Here is the statement in full:

Amidst the perception that the agency is not moving forward with the supply of license plates, the Land Transportation Office chief, Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, is on top of the situation and is proceeding with the procurement of license plates with dispatch and in accordance with existing procurement laws.

The matter was raised during the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation meeting on December 6, 2017, which he was unable to attend due to his hospital confinement since December 5, 2017.

It will be recalled that the 2013 procurement of motor vehicle and motorcycle plates was questioned before the courts and the Commission on Audit, and these cases remain pending to this day. Said procurement should have covered the supply of license plates from ‎2014 to 2018.

Moreover, in June 2016, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the LTO and the (then) Department of Transportation and Communications from releasing and distributing 700,000 license plates turned over by the Bureau of Customs after the plates’ supplier-importer failed to pay the required customs duties.

Thus, when the present administration came in July 2016, there was no budget allocation for the procurement of license plates for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Unconvinced that the procurement of license plates is dependent on the resolution of the cases involving the previous procurement, Galvante then requested for additional funds to be included in the LTO’s 2017 budget in the amount of P400,000,000 in order to proceed with the procurement of license plates.

Sometime in November 2016, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade approved the request and set aside the amount of P1,000,000,000 from DOTr’s budget for the LTO’s procurement of license plates.

The LTO clarified that the agency had already issued the notice of award to the winning bidder in the procurement of license plates in the amount of P978.8 million on December 1, 2017.

The winning bidder—a joint venture between Trojan Computer Forms Manufacturing Corporation and J.H. Tonnjes E.A.S.T. GmbH & Co. KG—has already been required to provide the performance security. Initial delivery is expected sometime in March 2018.

The LTO assures the public that the agency is doing the best it can, in compliance with existing laws and regulations, to deliver the license plates.

There. We will wait some more is what they’re saying.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.