SENATE Minority Leader Ralph Recto supports the plan of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to manufacture car plates “locally” to erase backlog.
Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade said the solution to the delayed issuance of vehicle license plates is to manufacture them locally.
Tugade said the government can buy the machines in making the car plates and “even driver’s license cards so the government can control the supply.”
He made the remark on Wednesday during a Senate public hearing on the proposals to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the traffic crisis in Metro Manila.
Recto said the move would prevent a repeat of imported plates being seized at the ports “over a dispute” in Customs duties.
He also welcomed Tugade’s statement that he would study the possibility of refunding motor vehicle owners who have paid for new car plates but have not received them.
However, Tugade said the refund may only be partial.
“Siguro ay portion, hindi kabuuan,” he answered when asked by Recto if motorists’ demand for refund will at least be studied by his agency.
Pressed when the plates will be released, Tugade said:”Bakit ba ‘yung plaka ginagawa pa kung saan-saan? ‘Di ba puwede gawin dito? Plano naming kung puwede ay bilhin na ang machine then apply an expanded analytics on the plates.”
Asked by Recto if the authority to procure the needed equipment is included in the emergency powers the President is asking from Congress to solve the traffic crisis, Tugade said he would welcome it if given, specifically, if it would lead to the release of embargoed plates.
“Kung masasaklaw sa mga kasulatan na ilalagay sa emergency power para ma-address ko ‘yung mga nandito na ngayon, in relation to our relationship with the Commission on Audit, bakit hindi? Para mai-withdraw ko ‘yung 300,000 plates, at least makakatulong ‘yun,” said Tugade.
The DOTr chief was referring to Dutch-made car plates that part of the 15.2 million pieces, to be supplied under a P3.85 billion contract, has been blocked by a CoA finding that any payment made would violate government auditing and anti-graft laws.