LTO to start issuing license plates in March 2018

MANILA — The Land Transportation Office (LTO) will start issuing license plates by March next year, assuring motorists it will proceed with the procurement in accordance with the law.

In a statement Thursday, the LTO said it has issued a notice of award to the winning bidder in the procurement of license plates worth PHP978.8 million last December 1.

The winning bidder Trojan Computer Forms Manufacturing Corporation and J.H. Tonnjes E.A.S.T. GmbH & Co. KG Joint Venture will provide the performance security with the initial delivery of license plates scheduled 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,” LTO chief and Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said in a statement.

The delay in the issuance of license plates was caused by the temporary restraining order of the Supreme Court (SC) in June 2016 preventing the LTO and then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)  from distributing 700,000 license plates turned over by the Bureau of Customs after the plates’ supplier-importer failed to pay the required customs duties.

The 2013 procurement of motor vehicle (MV)/ motorcycle (MC) plates, which covers the supply of license plates from ‎2014-2018, was questioned before the courts and the Commission on Audit which remains pending to date.

“Thus, when the present administration came in July 2016, there was no budget allocation for 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, Asec. Galvante then requested for additional funds to be included in the LTO’s 2017 budget in the amount of PHP 400 million in order to proceed with the procurement of license plates,” the LTO said.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade approved the request and allocated PHP1 billion from the department’s budget for LTO’s procurement of license plates in November last year.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday urged Galvante to resign over the agency’s failure to release new license plates with an estimated backlog reaching 6 million. Aerol John Pateña-/