A backlog of 7 million car plates suggests something is amiss at the Land Transportation Office and that somebody at the helm of the Land Transportation Office is not doing his job.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a former chief of the Department of Transportation, demanded the resignation of LTO chief Edgar Galvante for his failure the address the agency’s car plates problem that resulted in the huge backlog.
Mr. Alvarez was predictably piqued by the LTO inaction—the non-issuance of car plates was one of the issues raised by President Rodrigo Duterte when he was campaigning for the presidency. Mr. Duterte had noted that it took years before car owners could obtain their license plates.
In fairness to the LTO, the agency was stymied earlier by a Supreme Court restraining order that prevented it and the Department of Transportation from releasing and distributing 700,000 license plates turned over by the Bureau of Customs, after the plates’ supplier-importer failed to pay the required customs duties.
Funding was also a problem. The LTO had no budget allocation for the procurement of license plates for 2016, 2017 and 2018 after the new government assumed power. The LTO finally received a funding this year to procure the license plates in time for their delivery by March next year.
Vehicle owners, in the meantime, felt cheated by the LTO after paying for a car license plate that would have formally registered their vehicle. Vehicle owners, in sum, went through the tedious process of registering their units with the LTO, only to be told that the registration proof they paid for was not yet available.
LTO’s failure to quickly resolve the issue is a big disservice to the public it is supposed to serve. A number of government agencies rendering public service in the Philippines have been dismal in their performance and LTO is one such agency that failed to perform its mandate. Government agencies must be accountable to the public, especially those that charge fees. They should exert their best effort in delivering the services to the public and offer no excuses for their failure to do the job.