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Get ready to scrap your car’s license plates

Posted on July 17, 2013

VEHICLE OWNERS will have to replace their license plates with new ones under a scheme the Land Transportation Office (LTO) wants to start implementing this September.

In a circular published yesterday, the agency said the standardization move would help in law enforcement, improve the country’s vehicle database and “enhance the institutional capability of the government”.

It noted that eight license plate designs currently exist -- “some of which date back to 1981” -- along with the “proliferation” of illegible and dilapidated plates and owners’ “prevalent practice” of not replacing lost ones. These, it claimed, have “adversely affected law enforcement and national security”.

LTO Memorandum Circular VPT-2013-1772 states that the new plates will bear three alphabetical and four numeric symbols for cars, two alphabetical and five numeric symbols for motorcycles and eight numeric symbols for diplomatic vehicles.

The alphanumeric symbols for private cars will be black on a white background, while those for public utility vehicles (PUVs) will be black on yellow with the authorized route also to be indicated. Motorcycle plates will also be black on white, as will those for tricycles used for personal purposes. Tricycles used as PUVs will use the black on yellow scheme.

Government plates, meanwhile, will sport red symbols on a white background, with the name of the agency/office to be indicated. Diplomatic plates will carry blue symbols on a white background, while Other Exempt Vehicles (OEV) will have black symbols on a light blue background.

While the circular, issued July 1, states that the rules will “take effect 15 days after publication,” LTO Executive Director Alfonso V. Tan yesterday said actual implementation would start in September.

“We are looking at Sept. 1 for new vehicles and Oct. 1 for cars that are for renewal [of registration],” Mr. Tan said.

Vehicle owners will have to surrender their current plates. The new ones will have to be attached via LTO security locks and the use of license plate covers, frames “or any similar accessory” will be prohibited.

The new plates for cars and motorcycles are expected to cost some P450 and P120, respectively, inclusive of the security locks. A final price will be determined once the supply contract is awarded to the winning bidder, Mr. Tan said.

The new scheme does not take into account the use of vanity or commemorative plates, and Mr. Tan said: “That has to be discussed. But all commemorative plates that you see now are all illegal, since the last one had expired last January.”