Eric Tipan / AutoIndustriya.com | May 27, 2015 08:02
LTO defends position in senate hearing while COA suspends payment to license plate supplier
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is under pressure from both fronts as it continues to defend its ‘no registration, no travel’ policy.
On one end Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, the Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, made good on his word to investigate the ‘no registration, no travel’ policy implemented by the LTO a few months ago by summoning the agency to a series of hearings that started late last week.
Disclosed during the hearing was the total profit the LTO and its suppliers will make after the implementation of the policy.
“With eight million new vehicle license plates to be issued, this would amount to a P400-million profit. Why don’t we just admit to the people that they were your milking cows?” said Sen. Cayetano.
Senator Ralph Recto concurred and added that the Php 3.8 billion license plates cost has been passed on to motorists who gain nothing in return since there are no real new additional security features offered by the new license plates.
“Ano ang additional security feature na sinasabi ninyo? Wala akong nakikita dahil mayroon na akong bagong plaka rin for my old vehicle,” said Senator Recto.
[“What additional security features(s) are you talking about? I don’t see any because I have the new plates already for my old vehicle.”]
“This appears to be a business that we gave to the new supplier. That we should replace all license plates and the people would spend for it even if they don’t need it. If it’s needed at all, it should be for new vehicles only,” added Senator Recto.
COA stops payment to LTO license plate suppliers
The Commission on Audit (COA) on the other end has issued an order to the LTO last month to stop payment to the license plate manufacturers as COA has yet to receive documents pertinent to the 2013 contract that was awarded to Power Plates Development Concepts Incorporated and J. Knieriem BV-Goes.
Last November 17, 2014, COA requested for ten documents from the LTO in order to properly audit the multi-billion-peso contract awarded to the winning bidder. These documents include a detailed breakdown of the approved budget of the contract (ABC), minutes of pre-procurement conference, result of the bid evaluation, eligibility check/screening, abstract of bids, post-qualification evaluation report, bid security and other documentary requirements.
As of today, the LTO has already forwarded Php 477 million in payment to the supplier but if the documents needed by COA are not submitted within the prescribed period, a notice of disallowance may be issued which will nullify the existing contract.
LTO in hot water
Other issues being tackled in the hearing include substandard plates delivered by the supplier, the consistent delay in the registration process and plates procurement and the plate’s lack of security features among many others.