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LTO stops collecting P450 for new car plates

For now, vehicle owners no longer have to pay the P450 fee for the new standardized license plates , the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said on Wednesday.

This comes on the heels of a "notice of disallowance" issued by the Commission on Audit (COA),  to stop the Land Transportation Office's (LTO) from collecting fees for the new license plates.

"This means, vehicle owners who have not yet paid for the new license plates will not have to shell out P450 upon their renewal of registration," the DOTC said.

However, Transportation and Communications Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya said this will cause a delay in the issuance of license plates.

"We are currently in the process of resolving the issue with the COA regarding the Plate Standardization Program. We hope issues will be resolved and COA lifts the disallowance so we can provide the public with plates for improved road safety," he said.

The commission stopped the additional disbursements for the program in July, on the heels of a Supreme Court (SC) decision to discontinue the procurement under the LTO Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program.

The SC ruled that the petition has been rendered moor and academic, and any defect in the procurement process has been “cured.”

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo "Rodito" Albano III called for the immediate suspension of the LTO's P3.8-billion contract for new license plates while the Congress probes the supposedly substandard quality and the questionable awarding of the deal.

According to the DOTC, the LTO will issue the new license plates to motorists who have already paid the fee once the notice of disallowance from the COA is resolved.

The LTO in January issued Memorandum Circular No. AVT-2014-1895, mandating vehicle owners to replace their old license plates with the new standardized plates.

Along with DOTC, it rolled out the Plate Standardization Program in May.

"The standardization program aims to curb illegal practices such as tanggal-plaka or plate removal or switching, which is prevalent in carnapping and colorum public utility vehicles," the DOTC said. – Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VS, GMA News