• LTO says licenses, plates out in 2017

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    The Land Transportation Office (LTO) over the weekend reiterated an earlier announcement that plastic license cards and car plates will be available by the second quarter of 2017.

    Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante issued the statement after his office continued to receive inquiries and complaints about the non-availability of plastic license cards and car plates. He assured the public that they are taking steps to address the problem.

    He said that at present while the agency’s supply lasts, only Overseas Filipino Workers are given priority in the issuance of plastic license cards, subject to the submission of supporting documents such as their passport, employment contract, plane ticket, and/or POEA- or OWWA-issued/verified documents.

    It can be recalled that the shortage of license cards started three years ago after the Commission on Audit disallowed payments to a previous supplier, Amalgamated Motors Philippines Inc., for lack of a proper contract. A new supplier, Allcard Plastics Philippines Inc., won the bidding in 2015 to supply five million plastic card licenses for P336.8 million. However, the contract expired this year.

    Meanwhile, the problem with the car plates stemmed from the COA disallowance of the contract to manufacture the plates won by joint venture Power Plates Development Concepts and Dutch company Knieriem BV Goes.

    Although the 700,000 plates – seized by the Bureau of Customs in April due to the conglomerate’s non-payment of customs duties and taxes – were turned over to the government, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the DOTC and LTO from releasing the same pending the final adjudication of the case.

    The TRO was issued after congressmen Gustavo Tambunting and Jonathan dela Cruz questioned the turnover of the license plates despite the notice of disallowance COA issued in 2015.

    The two lawmakers claimed the LTO violated the pertinent provision on the use of government funds when it bid out the project without the necessary appropriation.

    “They cannot source the funds from two distinct items in the General Appropriations Act that were declared as savings and then transferred as augmentation for the project,” the lawmakers said, adding that under the Constitution, only the president, senate president, House speaker, chief justice and heads of constitutional commissions can exercise the power to transfer funds.

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