Blind side

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By Peter Rey Bautista

All In Good Time

Friday, July 11, 2014

WITH the new Land Transportation Office new plates there surely will be some changes especially if it involves public transport.

Illegal activities involving franchises for public transport may finally be attended to, especially in Baguio City. The City Council (which I was part of) in the 90s passed a moratorium on the issuance of franchises for public transport. While it was such an admirable act for legislation, it was a nightmare for implementation.

Eventually every Juan found a loophole, a way to circumvent the law. I have shared most of those which applied and continue to roam our city streets applied somewhere other than in Baguio. Obviously they now can ply anywhere from CAR to any point in Luzon. As if there are taxis everywhere. In fact, only Baguio and Metro Manila have taxis in Luzon.


The new vehicle plates have security features to curb the transfer, sale and illegal use of the registered plate. It now features a special bolt probably only the authorities can remove. I know magaling and McGyver ang Pinoy but this will surely be a challenge for every Juan.

Crimes will be prevented as vehicles cannot transfer plates from one to another. Although if one is involved in any crime it also may be a problem since there will be just too many numbers to remember (4) this time.

While it may seem foolproof for now, the plate looks smaller and harder to read also. In fact, vanity plates to me have been a better deterrent to crime as it is easy to recognize and criminal intent less. The LTO also earned a little bit more and must not resort to fundraising schemes just like with its fines adjustments for private vehicles and the accessories. Fines for the millions for illegal franchises I will not mind as it also takes as much or more for the transaction of the franchise to be given.

Commemorative plates surely will not be a money making scheme of some transport agency anymore. At least, I hope. I once had a problem registering and approving the Centennial plates for the city. But for the PNP, LTO, NBI or any authoritative agency, seemingly it is easier and more pricey. Term limits were given when approved. I had to request for a whole year after being granted a 6 month term for our plates to commemorate our centenary.

Car dealers that release a new vehicle to each owner may even have a more presentable plate than what is offered today. The appearance just seems so simple to me. I wished for a more presentable and artistic design but that's just me. Our plates look like that of China. It must also have been made there and I might be right.

Here is my point. There may be that chance that even less vehicles will ply our roads. A plan must also accompany this new scheme by ridding vehicles that do not run anymore. And for those that run but aged, maybe a special registration could be given for it to run the streets.

Remember that there are still a lot of older model cars that can still run but do not fall under junk. These should be phased out already and registration terminated.

Funny but the rich in the developed countries take public transport. For us to show off we claim to have more vehicles to be able to say we are rich. In fact we may have created a monster when we initiated coding schemes as a means to lessen vehicle volume. Unfortunately, every Juan may have purchased an extra car for coding purposes, thus defeating the purpose. Many also purchased commemorative plates that exempted vehicles from coding. I would for P5 thousand pesos at that time.

I wish for better days for Baguio. It may be time for every Juan to take up running, biking or walking. A new scheme can surely be promoted if possible. I also wish for every Juan to open their eyes and look forward to studies that may help us in the city with lifestyle, health and the environment.

Let every Juan be aware of these. And let’s hope that we won’t be blindsided from what is going on.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 12, 2014.


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