Hefty fines intended to address this

There are a total of 18.8 million motorcycles in the entire country, according to the LTO's database. However, out of that number, 12.28 million motorcycles have not renewed with the agancy since their initial registration had expired. This figure was disclosed at the 1st Public Consultation for the drafting of Implementing Rules and Regulations for RA 11235 on April 12 at the Land Transportation Office headquarters in Quezon City.

The agency also shared that, as of March 31, 2019, the total number of motorcycles in the country today is 18,800,000. This is a staggering increase of more than 3 million in 3 months, coming from the previous count of 15 million, as of December 31, 2018. According to the presentation of Atty. Mercy Jane Paras-Leynes, Head of Technical Working Group for RA 11235 and LTO's Chief of Operations, these figures came about after they updated their statistics.

12 million out of the 18 million motorcycles not registered – LTO image

“The sad part when we looked into our database as of March 31, 2019, 65% or 12.28 million motorcycles are delinquent. Meaning, they failed to renew registration on time or totally never renewed their motorcycle's registration when the first registration expired.”

“If you heard on the news the total motorcycle population as of December 31, 2018, is 15 million. But here, as shown on the slides, we updated the statistics and as of March 31 2019, our total vehicle population, not only motorcycles, is 26 million. Out of that 26 million, 18 million are motorcycles,” Atty. Mercy Jane Paras-Leynes in Filipino.

The LTO also shared that out of the total 26 million vehicles, motorcycles comprise 71% of that population, which includes tricycles, mopeds, big bikes and scooters. Among the more interesting subcategories are: Mopeds 0-49 cc: 708; motorcycles with sidecar: 2 million; motorcycles without sidecar: 15 million; non-conventional motorcycles: 31,000; and tricycles: 1.7 million.

12 million out of the 18 million motorcycles not registered – LTO image

This figure seems to reflect industry experts' belief that motorcycle sales will continue to rise, due to their practicality as daily commuters. Just last month, the the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association Inc. (MDPPA) – a motorcycle manufacturer's association, reported that they sold 1.6M motorcycles in 2018, with 20% growth forecasted for this year.

Still no plates

With consultations for motorcycle license plates ongoing, it appears motorcycle owners will still have to wait a while. Motorcycles have been awaiting their plates since 2013, as part of the PhP 477 million, five-year Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVLPSP) of the Aquino administration that was intended to modernize license plates of all registered vehicles, including motorcycles. Anomalies were uncovered by the Commission on Audit (COA) within the contract awarded to the joint venture of Knieriem BV Goes and Power Plates Development Concept Inc. (JKG-PPI) in 2013. On July 2015, COA ordered the LTO to cease payments to the suppliers over alleged violation of Philippines government procurement procedures.

Because the release of the contracted plates were delayed by several court rulings, LTO put up a plate making facility to produce and the long overdue plates itself. However, these were only for four-wheel vehicles or larger. The agency held back on the production of motorcycle license plates until the exact specifications of the new RA 11235 are finalized. 

In 2017, Congress and Senate wrote bills prescribing larger plates for motorcycles. The bills went through a bicameral and were signed into law as the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act (RA11235).

The LTO hopes that the new law will encourage motorcycle owners to renew their delinquent registration renewal to avoid the hefty penalties associated therein. When asked when the LTO will conclude with the Implementing Rules and Regulations so that the law can be implemented, ASEC Galvante said that they have 90 days from March 8, 2019.