In the Philippines, government officials receive a special privilege for them to use low-numbered "protocol plates", first issued by then President Carlos P. Garcia from 1959. This has gone through several revisions and last updated in 2006 to prevent misuse of these plates. The President is assigned the number 1 plate, the VP number 2, Senate President number 3 and so on and so forth.
Number 8 is designated for Representatives in the House of Congress but a new bill filed by Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco may soon prevent congressmen from using the protocol plate ‘8’.
The bill has received the support of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) after Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Emerson Carlos indicated its worthlessness to the average Filipino.
“Kasi wala namang naidudulot na advantage sa ordinaryong tao,” said Carlos of the ‘8’ plate.
[It doesn’t give any advantage to the ordinary citizen.]
According to Tiangoc, vehicles with ‘8’ plates are given ‘special treatment’ and are also issued much faster than regular vehicle license plates.
For their part, MMDA enforcers have always found it intimidating to flag down a vehicle with protocol plates, including the ‘8’ plates.
“Marami tayong nahuhuli na low number plates lalo na sa mga overspeeding, may nahuhuli din tayo. Medyo nakakaintimidate pero we try to be brave,” added Carlos.
[We have caught many low number number, mostly for overspeeding. It is intimidating but we try to be brave.]