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Opinion

LTO explains why car plates are delayed

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which may not be an official government holiday, but for Catholics, it is a holiday of obligation and all Catholic Churches use their Sunday Mass schedules for their respective Holy Masses. There is no doubt that many Filipinos love the Blessed Virgin Mary and this was demonstrated last October 13 during the 100th anniversary of the last apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima before the three children. It was a huge procession that I joined and we were all rained out, but people continued with the procession. Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! Ave Maria!

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I should be mad at the Land Transportation Office because in two months, my car will be a year old and I still have no license plate. Hence, no less than House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez asked LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante to resign, as he cannot do his job in producing the plate numbers even under the Duterte administration. Allow me to reprint the LTO official statement that was downloaded in the Facebook page of LTO-7 Director Alita Pulga.

LTO statement on the license plate procurement

“Amidst the perception that the agency is not moving forward with the supply of license plates, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief, Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, is on top of the situation and is proceeding with the procurement of license plates with dispatch and in accordance with existing procurement laws.

“The matter was raised during the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation meeting on 06 December 2017, which he was unable to attend due to his hospital confinement since Tuesday, 05 December 2017. It will be recalled that the 2013 procurement of Motor Vehicle (MV) /Motorcycle (MC) plates was questioned before the courts and the Commission on Audit, and these cases remain pending to this day.

“Said procurement should have covered the supply of license plates from 2014-2018. Moreover, in June 2016, the SC issued a temporary restraining order preventing the LTO and the Department of Transportation and Communication from releasing and distributing 700,000 license plates turned over by the Bureau of Customs after the plates’ supplier-importer failed to pay the required customs duties.

“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 P400 million in order to proceed with the procurement of license plates. Sometime in November 2016, DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade approved the request and set aside the amount of P1 billion from DOTr’s budget for LTO’s procurement of license plates.

“The LTO clarified that the agency has already issued the notice of award (NOA) to the winning bidder in the procurement of license plate in the amount of P978.8 million on 01 December 2017. The winning bidder, Trojan Computer Forms Manufacturing Corporation and J.H. Tonnjes E.A.S.T. GmbH & Co. KG Joint Venture, has already been required to provide the performance security. Initial delivery is expected 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.”

Thanks for this clarification, Director Pulga. It is easy to blame the LTO for their incompetence, but this official LTO statement explains the entire problem, which can be blamed on the Supreme Court’s TRO. Once this issue is resolved, I’m sure that the LTO will fast track distributing the license plates.

As the LTO official statement clearly pointed out last November 2016, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade approved the request and set aside P1 billion from DOTr’s budget for LTO’s procurement of license plates. So the issue is not lack of funds, but rather the government’s bureaucracy because this contract had to have bidding. So we expect that by March 2018, we will start getting those new license plates hopefully for Region 7. If I know Director Pulga, she will move heaven and earth to ensure that Cebu gets those license plates soonest.

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For email responses to this article, write to [email protected]. or [email protected]. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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