The much maligned vehicle license plates replacement program of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has received another round of criticism from Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto.

"Dapat itigil ang policy na iyan. Wala namang problema ang mga plaka, bakit nila pinipilit na palitan? Anong pakinabang non kundi pahirapan lang at pagastusin ang publiko,” said Senator Recto. [That policy should be stopped. There's nothing wrong with the plates, so why do they need to replace it. It will only make life harder for the (motoring) public by making them spend more.]

Senator Recto also added that motorists who paid for the new license plates ought to be reimbursed by the LTO until they can justify its cost and benefits to the motoring public and the Senate.

The LTO "should stop its ill-advised policy of directing all vehicle owners to replace their existing plates for no other reason than to collect money from them," Sen. Recto said in a statement.

In the last Blue Ribbon committee hearing chaired by Senator JV Ejercito, Recto went to the root of the problem and questioned how the DOTC and LTO were able to bid out a Php 3.8-billion project that only had an authorized budget of Php 180 million.

"To begin with, they had no authority to bid out that P3.8 billion project. What they did was illegal because there was no funding for that project in the 2013 budget. Normally, you can only bid out a project when there's SARO (Special Allotment Release Order). In this case, there was no SARO. It's puzzling how they could have pulled this off," said Recto.

The senator has asked the two agencies involved to concentrate on bringing down the cost of the license plate replacement and speeding up the process while also dedicating their efforts on solving traffic problems and fixing other mass transport systems like the LRT and the MRT.

"No matter how I look at it, I see no merit in this policy (license plate replacement), and the revenue will go to the supplier of the plates where the bidding process has come into question," concluded Recto.