Recto: Let private cars keep their license plates

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

SENATE President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Wednesday urged the government to allow motor vehicles to keep their license plates and limit the installation of new car plates to brand new vehicles up for registration.

Recto said there is no logic to the plan of the Department of Transportation and Communications to replace all existing car license plates with a new design, which will be introduced next month.

"It will be a waste of a car owner's money, not to mention his time, if his car plate, which is still in perfect condition, and which still functions as a vehicle identification mark, will be replaced," Recto said.


He said both the DOTC and the manufacturer of the new plates "will be making a killing by creating a captive market for a product, in so far as existing cars are concerned, that is not needed."

Under the DOTC plan, car owners will cough up P450 for a pair of new plates. Of this amount, P380 will be the manufacturer's share while P70 will be the DOTC's "administration fee." Recto said DOTC's justification that the new plates will improve vehicle security does not hold water.

"A car plate can never be an anti-carnapping device. Kahit na nga '8' ang plaka, nananakaw pa. A plate can never be a talisman against theft," Recto said, referring to the protocol plate number assigned to congressmen.

He said more police patrols, well-lighted streets, the dismantling of carjacking syndicates, the arrest of their leaders are the best deterrents against car theft and "not some tamper-resistant locks on a plate."

In the case of the reported practice of buses, for-hire and public utility vehicles of switching and duplicating license plates, "these can also be addressed by serious law enforcement," Recto said.

Recto, however, conceded that there is merit in replacing PUV license plates with a new version that will include their routes.

"I fully agree that this can weed out colorum vehicles and prevent the cloning of car plates," Recto said.

Recto said he cannot see how new car plates will improve the flow of traffic in Metro Manila.

He said the "general problem" with car plates is not their design but their short supply and non-availability.

"So the solution is to make them readily available and not to make their installation mandatory to all vehicles," he said.

"If it ain't broke, why fix it?" he added.

Recto lamented that while it takes a Japanese company an average of two days to assemble a three-ton vehicle, it takes us almost a year to provide a car with a license plate weighing a few hundred grams. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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