EDITOR'S NOTE

On a silver (license) plate

On a silver (license) plate image

Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: DOTC plate diagrams | posted March 18, 2014 15:48

Why did the DOTC release the full schematics of new LTO plates?

There has been much buzz about the Department of Transport and Communcations (DOTC) and Land Transportation Office's (LTO) intention to issue an all new license plate design, much to the consternation of people who just bought new cars only to have their respective plates delayed for so long.

The delay even prompted the MMDA to require that brand new cars without license plates have their own made to display the alphanumeric combination on the conduction sticker. It's practically an improvised plate, something that is illegal according to Republic Act 4136, as the LTO is supposed to issue "a written permit temporarily authorizing the operation of any motor vehicles with other means of identification" (Section 17-A) and not ask the motoring public to make their own 'plates'.

So when the LTO released their intended new license plate designs for private, for hire, government vehicles, protocol cars, diplomatic vehicles and motorcycles, an end to the delayed plate fiasco was in sight at long last.

That was until we looked more closely at the illustrations the DOTC released on a PDF file posted on their website August of 2013 and still currently available for download on the Philippine Government Portal Website.

The DOTC released what are practically blueprints of the new license plate designs. All the dimensions, radii of the rounded corners, measurements of the letters, right down to the security features like the laser engraved LTO seal and supplier logo are in the diagrams. Even the side profile of the plates were published.

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Isn't it peculiar that they would release these diagrams given that one of the primary reasons for issuing a new plate design was for increased security; you know, preventing fake plates and giving carjackers a harder time. It's the motoring equivalent of the Bangko Sentral or the U.S. Department of the Treasury releasing the exact schematics of each printed note on the Internet.

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You just don't release a diagram this detailed. If we can easily download these complete schematics, so can the thieves as the diagrams that they may fabricate their own, new, state of the art, tamper proof plates. Imagine the ease by which car jackers can now replace your car's plate. Imagine the potential for more colorum buses on our streets. Imagine the potential for someone to manufacture their own government plate. At least give the bad guys a harder time forging plates by doing the measurements themselves instead of handing it out on a silver platter.

Anyone with enough time on their hands can make their very own fake plates given these exact blueprints, particularly the one below... the plate that we all love to hate:

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