Thinking of visiting the nation's Summer Capital of The Philippines soon? Before you head out, better make sure your vehicle already has license plates.

That's because the City of Pines recently passed a new ordinance that bans motor vehicles with lost, missing, or no registration plates from plying the city's thoroughfares. This was confirmed by the Baguio City Council who said that the new ordinance was passed during its third and final reading.

Under the approved ordinance, owners of motor vehicles without registration plates attached to either the front or rear bumpers will not be allowed to ply Baguio City's roads. Similarly, vehicles using license plates other than those issued exclusively for the said vehicle will be prohibited from traveling the city's thoroughfares.

However, the new policy will exempt those whose number plates were removed by an authorized person for a traffic violation. In the absence of a plate number, the conduction sticker, motor vehicle file number, or improvised registration plate permitted by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will suffice.

“Provided that the driver must show to the apprehending officer the temporary operator’s permit or the traffic citation ticket issued within 72 hours from apprehension,” the council added.

Motorists that will fail to follow the ordinance will face a fine of PHP 2,000 for driving a vehicle without a license plate, conduction sticker, MV file number, or temporary license plate. A separate fine of PHP 5,000 will also be imposed on motorists driving a motor vehicle with a different license plate, conduction sticker, motor vehicle file number, or temporary license plate other than those issued by the LTO.

So why is Baguio City clamping down on vehicles that don't carry license plates? The City Engineering Office-Traffic and Transport Management Division (CEO-TTMD) have reported that 2,166 license plates of motor vehicles and motorcycles were confiscated from 2010 to 2020 which have yet to be claimed by the owners.

The license plates were seized during the operations of the BCPO together with the traffic aides of the CEO-TTMD, the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), and barangay officials for the implementation of Ordinance 07-1984 (Comprehensive Transportation and Traffic Regulations for the City of Baguio), and Administrative Order 116-2016 or the Operation Anti-Road Obstruction.

It was later learned that among the reasons for the unclaimed license plates were the “high” penalties imposed for these traffic violations.

The next time you're planning to head to Baguio City, better make sure your vehicle has the correct license plates, as well as the right set of paperwork. Failure to do so will cost you a hefty fine.