The Department of Transport and Communications (DOTC) has announced that new license plates will finally be available by late April 2014. The Land Transportation Office (LTO) will start issuing the new plates once it receives the supply from winning bidder PPI-JKG Philippines Inc. The agency reiterates that the standardization of license plates is being implemented to improve road safety, and will eventually weed out 'colorum' vehicles from the roads.

The agency first annonuced that the new plates would be available by September 2013. It did not push through because of internal government issues. The legislative department, with the Senate in particular is set to look into the delays by the DOTC with the plate program among many other botched up projects.

"The security features of the new plates will help weed out colorum vehicles from the roads, which will better assure the safety of the riding public.  They will also help in reducing the anticipated traffic in Metro Manila.  Of course, these features will also enable authorities to enforce criminal and traffic laws more effectively," said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya.

The DOTC has finally given the go ahead to PPI-JKG on Friday, February 21 with a 'notice to proceed' with its contracted supply of 5,236,439 pairs of motor vehicle license plates and 9,968,017 motorcycle license plates over a span of five years to the LTO.

The plate supplier will be given one-and-a-half months time from the last week of February to manufacture and deliver the first set of license plates which will be distributed to the LTO’s different district offices across the country.

The new standardized plates will phase out the currently nine different license plate designs being used since 1981. Private motor vehicle plates will sport a new black-and-white design, similar to those in use in most countries around the world.  'For hire' or public utility vehicle (PUV) plates will retain the black-and-yellow scheme. The price for the new plates will be PhP450 for motor vehicles and Php120 for motorcycles.

Plate bolts

"The new plates will also feature tamper-resistant locks and screws which will permanently attach the plates to the vehicle or motorcycle.  This will prevent their transfer from one vehicle to another, which is done in perpetrating crimes such as carnapping and in operating colorum PUVs," according to the DOTC.

A 'third plate' identification with the vehicles license plate combination on the windshield sticker will replace the current sticker which is renewed during annual registration.  PUVs will have their authorized routes indicated on the 'third plate' to further prevent out-of-line 'colorum' operations.

The DOTC, LTO, along with the Land Transportation and Franchising Board (LTFRB) are intensifying their campaign against public utility buses illegally operating along major thoroughfares which has been estimated to exceed one thousand units. The agencies are proposing stiffer penalties which include a PhP1-Million fine, and use of more technology to apprehend the violators. Last year, the LTFRB launched its 'Oplan Goliath' campaign to apprehend unauthorized buses, but the problem still remains.