LTO’s ‘virtual plates’ draw flak from netizens
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines – No license plate? Use a virtual plate instead.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has been issuing “virtual plates” in lieu of physical ones, the distribution of which has been stopped by the Commission on Audit (COA) on suspicion of irregularity in their procurement.

In a recent TV appearance, LTO chief Roberto Cabrera revealed plans to issue “virtual plates” as a temporary measure to address the backlog in license plates. He did not respond to requests from The STAR for details.

LTO spokesman Jason Salvador admitted they have been issuing virtual plates since last year or even before the resignation of former LTO chief Alfonso Tan Jr.

The issue first came to light after a photo of a truck with a “virtual plate” went viral – courtesy of indignant netizens. The photo was posted on the official Facebook page of Top Gear Philippines. But what was on the viral FB post appeared to be nothing more than a cardboard with words “virtual plate” written on it.

But Salvador explained it was not what the LTO meant by virtual plates.

He said “virtual plates” comprise alphanumeric combinations assigned temporarily to registered new vehicles. The use of temporary alphanumeric identification would make it easier for the LTO to release the permanent license plates once they become available.

Salvador said he understands the frustration of motorists with the delays in the release of the permanent license plates.

“But unfortunately we are in the situation that we are waiting for other government agencies to act on our issues,” he said, apparently referring to the COA, which issued a notice of disallowance stopping the release of more than 600,000 license plates by the Bureau of Customs.

“So you get virtual plates now and spend extra money to produce your own, also your own design? I like the old green and white plates and not the ‘cardboard’ ones with black lettering they distributed lately,” Facebook user Oluf Van Roon commented. – With Romina Cabrera

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