LTO: New machines to reduce license plate backlog by over 3 million

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In January, the Supreme Court lifted the stay order on the release of more than 700,000 modernized license plates equipped with safety features.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 10) — Officials move to address the nationwide backlog in license plates with the purchase of new production machines.

The machines were delivered to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) on February 26.

"All in all ang tinutugunan natin nasa [what we're looking at is around] three million plates. So 'yun ang unang tutugunan [that is what we are solving] with the new machines," LTO Law Enforcement Services Director Francis Almora told CNN Philippines Tuesday.

LTO's license plate backlog from January 2015 to December 2017 is at 8.2 million. The new machines are expected to produce 3.4 million plates pending since July 2016.

The five Manual Embossing Machines could produce up to 200 license plates — 100 pairs of front and rear plates — per hour. Almora said they are considering a three-hour, two-shift operation.

Machine suppliers, Trojan Computer Forms Manufacturing Corporation and J.H. Tonnjes E.A.S.T. GmbH & Co. KG Joint Venture, lent two more manual machines.

 

In addition, an Automated Embossing Machine will be delivered in July.

"These will really increase the production, and before year-end, magkakaroon pa ng panibago ulit [there will be a new one] na automated, which will cater to the MC (motorcycle) plates," Almora added.

Meanwhile, there are 4.8 million license plates for vehicles purchased from January 2015 to June 2016 under a ₱3.8-billion contract which is still subject to a Notice of Disallowance by the Commission on Audit (COA). The order was due to alleged favoritism shown by the Transportation Department to the supplier, Dutch firm J. Knieriem BV-Goes, despite its alleged lack of financial capability.

On Monday, the COA vowed to speed up the lifting of the Notice of Disallowance after the SC order.

"We are expediting the process here at COA about this issue, because it has taken so long already after we received the decision and order of the Supreme Court. The decision will be released anytime soon," COA Public Information Chief Jonathan Beltran said.

In January, the Supreme Court lifted the stay order on the release of more than 700,000 modernized license plates equipped with safety features. These plates were confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) after the manufacturer failed to pay taxes, so the BOC donated the plates to the LTO — but petitioners questioned the legality of the donation under the LTO-Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program.

READ: Supreme Court OKs release of 700,000 license plates