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LTO to expedite distribution of backlogged license plates

Penalties await those who can’t claim them on time

So…these license plates have been in the LTO’s possession all along. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Back when government launched the newly redesigned license plates, vehicle owners with older ones were forced to have theirs upgraded. It was an unnecessary exercise that meant unnecessary expenses and hassles. And if that’s not enough, many vehicle owners have yet to receive the new license plates long after complying with this new rule. This means that many are still waiting for something that they’ve already paid for.

This made the Land Transportation Office the butt of jokes as the agency continued to battle backlogs of license plates, among other problems. The backlog for plates has been an issue that the agency has been battling for more than a decade now. Ironically, a lot of these plates have apparently already been in the agency’s possession all along, but have been left unclaimed.

LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II is dead serious about fixing the agency. PHOTO FROM LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE

The Commission on Audit released a report saying that 1,797,115 pairs of license plates for vehicles and motorcycles have been sitting idle in the LTO’s possession. And if not for this report, vehicle owners, who have been long waiting for these license plates, wouldn’t even know that the plates were already available for claiming.

This was confirmed by the newly appointed LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II in his interview on CNN Philippines’ The Source. But the new leadership is hell-bent on having these unclaimed license plates distributed as soon as possible as it plans to issue a memo to expedite its distribution in 60 days.

LTO’s plate-making facility still has a huge backlog. PHOTO FROM PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY

Currently, Mendoza is consulting LTO’s regional directors if the 60-day period would be enough, given that some areas have a big number of unclaimed license plates. Some of these, Mendoza added, are stuck with dealers where the vehicles were purchased from.

After the release of the memo, owners and dealers should claim the license plates within the period or face penalties for failing to do so. Furthermore, Mendoza said that the agency is looking into the possibility of implementing Senator Francis Tolentino’s suggestion of canceling the certificates of registration of those who would fail to claim their license plates within that period.

Are your vehicle's license plates among the 1.7 million pairs in LTO's possession? PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

Recently, the Department of Transportation launched a website to allow owners to track their unreleased license plates. Though quite buggy, the site is still quite useful, providing information about the availability of the license plates and giving the LTO branch where the owners could claim them.

So, if you’ve requested a replacement or are still waiting for your vehicle’s license plates, you’d better head to this website so you can check if yours are ready for claiming. That is, if you want to avoid being penalized for something that you have been expecting for so long.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.