LTO refutes COA report of license plate backlogs from 2014 to 2020

Maris Federez   •   August 13, 2021   •   392

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) reported in its 2020 Annual Audit Report that more than eight million motorcycle plates dating back from 2014 to 2020 remained undistributed.

The report also said that from 2015 to 2020, 2.6 million motor vehicles still need replacements of their license plates.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO), however, said the agency has already taken measures to address the issue and has, in fact, reduced the backlog.

“I think nung ginawa yon, medyo audit ng much earlier dates yon eh. Kaya mayroon nang pagbabago doon. Kaya siguro yung 8 million na yon, na-reduce na. Para i-explain din namin kung ano na yung nai-comply namin out of that,” LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvantez said.

“But again, we honor the report of COA and we’ll attend to the issues that have been pointed out in that report,” he added.

Asec. Galvantez said one of the problems they encounter is the funding to be used for the production of replacement license plates based on the new measurement implemented in 2018.

The LTO has also released a statement on Friday afternoon to further clarify the issue.

It said that the contract in question was signed in 2014 between the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and PPI-JKG Philippines, Inc. (PPI-JKG) for the delivery of 5.2 million pairs of Motor Vehicle (MV) plates and 9.9 million pieces of motorcycle plates, to supply the LTO license plate requirements up to 2017.

The LTO said that out of the deliverables, over 4 million pairs of MV plates and more than 7.2 million pieces of MC plates were undelivered.

In 2015, LTO’s payment to the PPI-JKG was disallowed by COA which resulted in the suspension of the payment to the supplier which, in turn, led to the stoppage of the production and delivery of the license plates from the LTO.

The agency added that due to the disallowance, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the distribution of the produced plates following scrutiny by several lawmakers.

The statement further said that the Duterte administration was confronted with the production and distribution backlog of millions of license plates when it took over in 2016.

DOTr granted the request of the LTO to acquire funds for a new contract for the production of license plates while waiting for the resolution on the COA disallowance of the previous contract.

It was in 2018 when the Notice of Disallowance was lifted. In the same year, the agency started the rehabilitation of the LTO Plate Making Plant that expedited the production of license plates that used to be outsourced.

It was also in the same year that the DOTr-LTO started the release of motor vehicle plates registered in July 2016.

Currently, the statement said, the LTO, continues to prevent a recurrence of backlogs in the issuance of MV license plates and MC plates.

In its latest data, LTO recorded a total of 3,940,705 pairs of motor vehicle plates produced as of 10 August 2021.

For motorcycle plates, LTO’s latest record shows that as of 10 August 2021, a total of 6,019,150 pieces were produced by the agency from 2014. Of this number, 3,649,114 were produced from 2018 featuring the new design of MC plates.

The LTO further said that the reported backlog in the production of plates is due in large part to the lack of budget of the LTO.

From the budget it requested for 2020 amounting to PhP1,869,274,000, only PhP696,747,000 was granted.

And for the budget that the agency requested for 2021 of PhP3,574,755,000, only PhP925,412,000 was allocated.

The LTO stressed that out of this allocation, only PhP 736,747,000 was actually released to the agency which, it said, would only be sufficient to supply the license plates for the calendar year 2021, and not the backlog.

To date, the LTO has requested a budget allocation of PhP2,616,364,198.17 for the calendar year 2022 so that the agency can meet the demand to produce 16 million license plates by June 30, 2022.

The agency assured that the current LTO administration is doing everything it can to address all the MC and MV plate backlogs. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Asher Cadapan, Jr.)

DOTr to recommend increased passenger capacity in PUVs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will recommend an increase of passenger capacity in public utility vehicles (PUVs) as quarantine restrictions eased in the National Capital Region (NCR).

DOTr Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor on Monday (October 18) said the department will recommend the proposed passenger capacity increase to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Irerekomenda po ng Kagawaran ng Transportasyon ang pagtaas ng passenger capacity sa ating mga PUVs (The DOTr will recommend the increase of passenger capacity for our PUVs) to cope with the increased number of individuals using public transport due to the imposition of a more relaxed quarantine status,” he said during a virtual public briefing.

Pastor said that increasing the number of PUV passenger capacity from the current maximum capacity of 50 percent will not only help commuters but also PUV drivers and operators, as well.

“This will also address ang matagal na hinihiling ng ating mga kasamahan sa business sector na dapat mas mapalago (what our business sector is hoping for, to boost) economic activities. We can contribute to that through an increase in public transportation, and their capacity,” Pastor said.

The DOTr official added there is no exact figure yet for the passenger capacity but assured that the proposal to be submitted to the IATF will be based on both technical and medical studies. AAC

DOTr, DOLE sign MOA to provide livelihood assistance to transport workers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday, October 12, signed a memorandum of agreement to provide livelihood assistance to  transport workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

The eTSUPERneur program is a long-term solution that provides transport workers with entrepreneurial-related training, business management orientation, business capital, and micro-insurance.

Participants who wish to join the program will be trained in various skillsets as they enter businesses related to food, mechanical and others. Each participant will receive an amount of P30,000 as one of the benefits.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the program can help workers in the transport sector earn an extra income, while providing service to the commuting public.

Nakapakalaking bagay para sa mga naghahanap-buhay sa pampublikong sasakyan na magkaroon ng karagdagang kaalaman upang mapabuti ang kanilang serbisyo, o hindi kaya ay magkaroon sila ng kakayahan sa pagnenegosyo at para sa iba pang pagkakakitaan para makabangon sa gitna ng pandemya (It is a big deal for transport workers to have additional knowledge to improve their service or have the capability to start a business as an alternative livelihood amid the pandemic),” he said. AAC

 

Senate panel approves COA, Ombudsman proposed 2022 budget

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved the proposed budget of two constitutional bodies for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara called the budget deliberation of the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman the shortest so far for this year, as the panel gave its approval under 15 minutes of the hearing.

The committee hearing for COA’s proposed budget of P14.4 billion only took 10 minutes and was soon endorsed for the nod of the plenary.

“No questions on the part of the Chair. […] this is probably the shortest budget meeting of this 2022 budget,” Angara said during the hearing.

Indicated in COA’s proposed budget is its request for additional funds for personnel services for the third tranche of the pay adjustments under the salary standardization law for government employees.

COA also requested a budget increase for the construction of provincial satellite auditing offices and provision for the operational expenses of these branches.

“We have written a letter to the committee asking for additional budgetary support primarily on the MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) […] and possibly if the budget is flexible enough, maybe additional capital outlay,” said COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo.

COA has, so far, completed the construction of 54 satellite offices, and 17 more under construction.

Meanwhile, it only took the Senate panel 13 minutes to finish the hearing of the P3.9 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman that was recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Ombudsman Samuel Martires appealed for additional funding for its operational budget that was cut by almost half by the DBM.

“We’re not asking too much. If it will be hard for the Senate to give us the proposed budget for 2022, then we just would like to request that at least the budget that was given to us for 2021 be retained,” Martires said.

The Senate is currently on recess and is expected to resume on November 8 wherein senators are expected to start the deliberation of the national budget in the plenary. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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