MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is set to file a resolution on Monday, July 13, calling for a probe on the P3.8 billion ($85.02 million) license plate standardization program of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) amid reports of flimsy vehicle plates being issued.
The LTO has required motorists to pay P450 for the new license plates, but the program has come under fire over reports that the new plates are easily damaged in knee-deep floods.
There are also complaints that the LTO-issued security bolts for the plates do not fit the vehicles, and that the paint on the plates chip off easily.
“It is ridiculous for the LTO to impose a costly fine of P5,000 if the security bolts are not attached to the new license plates, when car owners have complained that these supposedly standard bolts do not even fit their car,” Santiago said.
She added, “The faulty license plates and unreliable security bolts do not justify the billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money spent for the project, and the high price that the vehicle owners have to pay.”
The senator also said that with the Philippines vulnerable to typhoons, the LTO and the transportation department should make sure that the new car plates can withstand floods.
The LTO’s license plate standardization program has come under fire in recent weeks, with months-long waiting periods for the new plates angering motorists and senators raising questions on the budget for the project. (READ: Bidding out of car license plates contract illegal – Recto)
The P3.8-billion contract to produce new license plates was awarded to Power Plates Development Concepts Incorporated and J. Knieriem BV-Goes in 2013.
The auction took off from LTO’s Motor Vehicle Plate Standardization Program that required the winning bidder to supply and deliver approximately 5.23 million pieces of plates for motor vehicles and 9.97 million for motorcycles. The 5-year contract covers July 2013 to June 2018.
The Commission on Audit is studying the deal, following allegations that the DOTC’s bids and awards committee favored Dutch firm J. Knieriem BV-Goes despite its alleged financial incapacity and inexperience. – Rappler.com
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