MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) reported in its 2020 Annual Audit Report that more than eight million motorcycle plates dating back from 2014 to 2020 remained undistributed.
The report also said that from 2015 to 2020, 2.6 million motor vehicles still need replacements of their license plates.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO), however, said the agency has already taken measures to address the issue and has, in fact, reduced the backlog.
“I think nung ginawa yon, medyo audit ng much earlier dates yon eh. Kaya mayroon nang pagbabago doon. Kaya siguro yung 8 million na yon, na-reduce na. Para i-explain din namin kung ano na yung nai-comply namin out of that,” LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvantez said.
“But again, we honor the report of COA and we’ll attend to the issues that have been pointed out in that report,” he added.
Asec. Galvantez said one of the problems they encounter is the funding to be used for the production of replacement license plates based on the new measurement implemented in 2018.
The LTO has also released a statement on Friday afternoon to further clarify the issue.
It said that the contract in question was signed in 2014 between the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and PPI-JKG Philippines, Inc. (PPI-JKG) for the delivery of 5.2 million pairs of Motor Vehicle (MV) plates and 9.9 million pieces of motorcycle plates, to supply the LTO license plate requirements up to 2017.
The LTO said that out of the deliverables, over 4 million pairs of MV plates and more than 7.2 million pieces of MC plates were undelivered.
In 2015, LTO’s payment to the PPI-JKG was disallowed by COA which resulted in the suspension of the payment to the supplier which, in turn, led to the stoppage of the production and delivery of the license plates from the LTO.
The agency added that due to the disallowance, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the distribution of the produced plates following scrutiny by several lawmakers.
The statement further said that the Duterte administration was confronted with the production and distribution backlog of millions of license plates when it took over in 2016.
DOTr granted the request of the LTO to acquire funds for a new contract for the production of license plates while waiting for the resolution on the COA disallowance of the previous contract.
It was in 2018 when the Notice of Disallowance was lifted. In the same year, the agency started the rehabilitation of the LTO Plate Making Plant that expedited the production of license plates that used to be outsourced.
It was also in the same year that the DOTr-LTO started the release of motor vehicle plates registered in July 2016.
Currently, the statement said, the LTO, continues to prevent a recurrence of backlogs in the issuance of MV license plates and MC plates.
In its latest data, LTO recorded a total of 3,940,705 pairs of motor vehicle plates produced as of 10 August 2021.
For motorcycle plates, LTO’s latest record shows that as of 10 August 2021, a total of 6,019,150 pieces were produced by the agency from 2014. Of this number, 3,649,114 were produced from 2018 featuring the new design of MC plates.
The LTO further said that the reported backlog in the production of plates is due in large part to the lack of budget of the LTO.
From the budget it requested for 2020 amounting to PhP1,869,274,000, only PhP696,747,000 was granted.
And for the budget that the agency requested for 2021 of PhP3,574,755,000, only PhP925,412,000 was allocated.
The LTO stressed that out of this allocation, only PhP 736,747,000 was actually released to the agency which, it said, would only be sufficient to supply the license plates for the calendar year 2021, and not the backlog.
To date, the LTO has requested a budget allocation of PhP2,616,364,198.17 for the calendar year 2022 so that the agency can meet the demand to produce 16 million license plates by June 30, 2022.
The agency assured that the current LTO administration is doing everything it can to address all the MC and MV plate backlogs. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Asher Cadapan, Jr.)