House Speaker urges LTO chief to resign over unavailability of license plates

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House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez (left) and LTO Chief Edgar Galvante

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 7) — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday called on Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante to resign over the agency's failure to address the lack of available plates for registered vehicles.

"If you can't do the job you resign. Tell Asec. Galvante, if he can't do his job, tender resignation… So the president can find another person who is capable... Mahigit isang taon na kayo diyan wala pa ring plaka [It has been over a year and we still don't have license plates]," Alvarez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Galvante as LTO chief in June 2016. Galvante used to be the Deputy Chief of Operations of the Philippine National Police.

Read: Duterte announces more Cabinet appointments

Alvarez said among Duterte's campaign promises during his presidential bid was to resolve issues related to the release of license plates for registered vehicles.

He added there should not be an issue at all as there is no shortage of suppliers for the license plates.

The LTO, in a statement, said Galvante is "on top of the situation" as he had already proceeded with the procurement of license plates.

The agency explained there was no budget allocation for the procurement for 2016, 2017 and 2018 following a temporary restraining order issued by the Supeme Court in June 2016 preventing the LTO from releasing 700,000 imported license plates after the plates' supplier-importer failed to pay the required customs duties.

Read: Supreme Court stops release of license plates

"ASec. Galvante then requested for additional funds to be included in our 2017 budget in the amount of ₱400 million in order to proceed with procurement of license plates," the statement read.

The request was approved by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who set aside ₱1 billion for the agency on November 2016.

LTO added it had already issued the notice of award to the winning bidder, Trojan Computer Forms Manufacturing Corporation and J.H. Tonnjes E.A.S.T. GmbH & Co. KG Joint Venture.

The winning bidder has also been required to provide the performance security, with the initial delivery of license plates expected on March 2018.