Last week, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) proudly announced that a second plate stamping robot became operational at the latter’s Quezon City office. The new machine, aimed at augmenting the LTO’s plate stamping capacity, is capable of stamping 450 motorcycle plates an hour or 7,200 plates a day (two shifts).

Unfortunately, the LTO still needs to produce 12-million motorcycle plates in backlog before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from Malacañang in June 2022.

“We have proposed to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) that they consider including around PHP 2.6-billion so that we can have this backlog of plates produced,” said LTO Chief, Edgar Galvante, during a recent interview with CNN Philippines' Traffic Center.

Additional budget needed

Due to plate supplier issues and irregularities that plagued the LTO years back, production of such plates was halted for a couple of years, which then resulted in the backlog that we are facing now.

Although motorcycle plate stamping was resumed in 2018, it was again stopped due to the passage of RA 11235, commonly known to the motorcycle community as the “Doble Plaka law”, which required a complete redesigning of motorcycle number plates.

12-million MC plates to go and PHP 2.6-billion to produce them – LTO image

With the backlog in motorcycle plates, which reached 18-million during its peak, naturally, the LTO would need additional funding to produce these plates from other sources or suppliers to meet their June 2022 deadline, which Asec. Galvante shared during a virtual briefing last year.

Ang kailangang i-produce ay 18 million. Kailangan ng PHP 2.5-billion para matugunan ito. Hopefully, maibigay," said Galvante.

[18 million (motorcycle number plates) need to be produced. PHP 2.5-billion is needed to fulfill this. Hopefully, it will be granted]

Didn't we already pay for the number plate?

We understand that many of our fellow motorcycle riders will again be disappointed with the LTO since (1) they haven’t completely delivered the plates for motorcycles and (2) they are requesting additional funding.

But before we light up our torches and march to East Avenue, let us first understand how government agencies get their funding.

According to the DOTr (LTO’s parent agency) the fees that motorists paid for were all remitted to the National Treasury. That means the LTO is NOT keeping this money in a vault or bank somewhere but is turned over to the National Treasury.

Yung mga ibinayad po natin para sa ating mga plaka noon ay diretsong nai-remit na po ng LTO sa national treasury," said the DOTr via an earlier statement.

[The payments that were made for the number plates were already remitted by the LTO to the National Treasury]

How does the LTO get funded to function?

Since the LTO remits all the income they generate to the National Treasury, the agency gets funding for projects through congress and the Department of Budget Management’s  (DBM) approval.

“Once remitted to the National Treasury, it is the DBM and Congress who decide how much will be allotted to fund specific projects or services, subject to the request of the agency. It’s DBM and Congress that approves LTO’s annual budget,” added the DOTr.