400,000 new license plates to be released monthly
MANILA, Philippines – Starting November, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will release 400,000 new license plates each month to address the 1.1-million backlog as of July 15.
"This is one of the priorities of the department. So LTO Chief Edgar [Galvante] told us that his agency will release hundred thousands of new plates by November," Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) spokesperson Cherie Mercado announced in a media briefing on Monday, August 8.
The plates were the ones confiscated by the customs bureau after supplier Power Plates Development Concepts Incorporation/J. Knieriem BV Goes (PPI-JKG) failed to pay taxes and customs duties.
The license plates are part of the DOTC's long delayed license plate standardization program, under which the joint venture bagged the P3.8-billion contract to supply new plates in 2013 but failed to deliver.
The LTO has been under fire from motorists after it announced that it would strictly implement its "No registration, no travel" policy beginning April 1, 2015, but without releasing licensed plates that they had paid for months or even a year earlier.
LTO chief Galvante said the long-term solution to this issue is to produce license plates locally so the agency can respond immediately to shortages.
"That's why we are planning to procure the machines that are needed for us to be able to do this, and we are going to do this in the next budget. Hopefully this can be granted," he said.
5-year drivers' license to start in NCR
Meanwhile, motorists in the National Capital Region who are set to renew their drivers' licenses will get 5-year validity starting September 19, Mercado told reporters.
This was after President Rodrigo Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address said the government is eyeing to stretch the validity of driver's licenses to 5 years, from the current 3 years.
Mercado said other regions in the country will follow suit by October.
The 5-year-validity period for drivers' licenses, however, will not apply to new licenses and student permits.
Senator Ralph Recto has filed a bill seeking to extend the validity of driver's licenses to 5 years. – Rappler.com