MANILA, Philippines – The absence of a concrete solution to the perennial vehicle plate shortage should prompt Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Edgar Galvante to give up his post, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday.
In a news conference, Alvarez called on Galvante to step down to allow the appointment of a new LTO head who could do the job.
“I have nothing personal against Assistant Secretary Galvante, trabaho lang. More than one year ka na nakaupo d’yan, wala pa ring plaka ang mga sasakyan. The most logical thing for you to do is to resign. Ibig sabihin, hindi mo kaya ang trabaho mo,” the Speaker said.
[I have nothing personal against Assistant Secretary Galvante, this is just about work. You’ve been there for more than a year already but vehicles still have no plates. The most logical thing for you to do is to resign. That means, you can’t do your job.]
“Asec. Galvante should resign so the President can appoint a person na kayang gawin iyong trabaho. Hindi naman mabigat na problema ‘yan plaka, ang daming supplier ng plaka basta i-bidding mo lang ‘yan, eh di tapos,” he added.
[Asec. Galvante should resign so the President can appoint a person who can do the job. Plate shortage is not a big problem, there are many suppliers, you can just bid it out, then the problem will be solved.]
Alvarez reminded that the steady supply of new vehicle plates was one of the promises made by President Rodrigo Duterte during his 2016 campaign.
As former Secretary of the Department of Transporation and Communications, Alvarez said he knows there is a quick solution to the car plate mess, saying the problem is just simple.
Told during a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation that there was a new bidding for the supply of the car plates, he said, “Why only now, when you have been there for more than a year.”
Millions of motor vehicles now ply the roads with no registration plates. The problem started in 2013 when the government introduced a new design, which led to the awarding of the ₱3.8-billion Car Plate Standardization Program to Dutch-Filipino consortium Knieriem BV Goes and Power Plates Development Concept Inc.
In 2015, the Commission on Audit ordered a halt to the deal after finding it anomalous, saying that the contract was awarded even if there was no funding for the project. COA also found the procurement of the project irregular and illegal.
In June 2016, the Supreme Court temporarily stopped the LTO from issuing the 700,000 license plates to motorists and from accepting more license plates from the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
The high court issued a temporary restraining order against the “release, distribution, or disposal in any manner” involving the 300,000 license plates for motor vehicles and 400,000 for motorcycles that were turned over by the BOC to the LTO.
The license plates were shipped in 11 container vans, but were not claimed by the Dutch-Filipino consortium PPI-JKG Philippines Inc., the consignee which holds the supply contract with the LTO.