Endless problems

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

According to the LTO, more than 60% of the vehicles in the Philippines are not registered or whose registration has not been renewed. This amounts to ?39 billion in lost income for this year alone. That’s a lot of money.

But whose fault is that? I blame the government or at least the LTO itself. Nowadays, how can you tell if a vehicle is registered or has renewed its registration? You have to flag the vehicle to pull over and check the documents if it is registered. LTO Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza said checkpoints will be stricter in finding out who the unregistered vehicles are. Traffic is already bad, and they still want more checkpoints where they have to pull over vehicles.

Why did the LTO discontinue the use of stickers to indicate if a vehicle’s registration has been renewed? Stickers that show the current year had to be attached to both front and rear plates. It is very easy for the authorities to see if the vehicle has been registered simply by looking at these stickers. If they see "6" as the last license plate number in the month of July or August and do not have the sticker for the current year, then they are promptly apprehended. Those stickers on the license plates were then replaced with a sticker on the windshield that was also easily seen by the authorities. Now, there is no visible indication if a vehicle is registered or renewed.

Even other countries use license plate stickers because they are very easy to see. How hard is it to have stickers made? Surely, they are much easier to procure than plates. The LTO wanted to replace the green vehicle license plates with white license plates that were said to be "more hi-tech". I know some people whose car is 2008 or older still with green license plates. That’s more than a decade since the LTO wanted to replace them with "more hi-tech" white license plates. There is a website – ltoplatereplcement.com – for you to check if white plates are available for your car. Guess what? The website is no longer working.

Administrations have come and gone and yet these LTO problems continue. Now, they say there are many unregistered vehicles, and the government is losing revenue. Of course, because they cannot tell whose cars are properly registered. With what the LTO plans to do, even those who properly register their cars will be inconvenienced.

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