COA inspects license plates turned over to LTO

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Tuesday (April 26) inspected hundreds of thousands of license plates turned over by the Bureau of Customs earlier this month.

LTO chief Roberto Cabrera said these include 300 pairs of new and replacement plates for cars and 400,000 license plates for motorcycles.

However, this is just 10 percent of the backlog of over three million license plates put on hold since May 2015.

Related: BOC warns: 600,000 license plates to be auctioned off if taxes unsettled

The Commission on Audit (COA) previously issued a notice of disallowance, stopping the distribution of the plates because of alleged irregularities in the allocation of LTO's budget.

"Fina-fast track na po dito when we got it from the BOC (Bureau of Customs). Ang promise po ng LTO is 15 to 30 days from receipt. I'm looking at it within two weeks' time; before 15 days we'll start distributing in the different regions," said Cabrera.

[Translation: We are fast tracking it from here when we got it from the BOC (Bureau of Customs). LTO promised 15 to 30 days from receipt. I'm looking at it within two weeks' time; before 15 days we'll start distributing in the different regions.]

Also read: New LTO Chief Cabrera to find legal remedies for vehicle plates, license backlogs

LTO personnel inspected and verified the license plates, and then scanned the barcode to be logged into the LTO's database.

The plates are then transferred to a temporary storage room at a new building at the LTO compound.

Based on LTO's records, the National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest backlog but they will only get 71,000 pairs from the turned over license plates.

"Backlog has reached 110,000 new plates and 1.2 million replacement plates," said Atty. Emiliano Bantog, LTO-NCR regional director.

This batch of plates turned over by customs were earlier held at port because the supplier — Filipino-Dutch consortium Knieriem BV Goes and Power Plates Development Concept Inc. (JKG-PPI) — failed to settle importation taxes and duties amounting to P40 million. It also did not pay the storage and wharfage fees of up to P3 million.

Also read: Senate scrutinizes 'irregular' bidding of LTO license plates

The LTO also made a clarification about the turnover.

"License plates not a donation, just a turn over," said Cabrera.

The Bureau of Customs is looking at deducting the supplier's unpaid taxes and duties from the LTO's budget payable to the supplier.

Cabrera said JKG-PPI assured them there are 2.5 million blank plates ready to be deliver within 45 days should the LTO place an order.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) appealed to COA to lift the notice of disallowance. This will allow them to pay the supplier and continue with the production of license plates.

Under LTO's contract with JKG-PPI, 15 million plates should be delivered within five years.

LTO said if COA lifts the notice of disallowance, the backlog can possibly be covered within six months.