Motorist Rights and the License Plate Cover

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Juvenal

The Department of Transportation and Communication has in the last few months have become hit by several issues that has raised the public’s ire: (1) the disaster and repeated breakdown of the MRT; (2) The suspension of the truck ban that has caused massive daily traffic in Metro Manila; (3) Failure to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport despite more than a billion pesos allocated in the National Budget under the GAA , which then was declared as savings and used for other things under the Disbursement Accelaration Plan or DAP; and the implentation and subsequent suspension of government regulation banning the use of License Plate Covers. These things paints the DOTC in a very bad light in the public’s eye. On hindsight some of these things could have been avoided.

Let us look at License Plate Covers specifically. Basicallya car owner’s responsibility in terms of the license plate is the following:

First, The plate should be currently valid and clearly visible;

Second, The plate should be mounted to the car in the proper place in a mannerthat is free of obstruction;

Third, All of the numbers and letters should be clearly visible, as well as any other identifying markers.

If a license plate cover does not violate these three then it should not be disallowed. A license plate cover is used to protect the license plate from the elements that will destroy it and in certain license plate cover may even protect it from theft, which is rampant in the Philippines. Complicating this policy further is the backlog of license plates yet to be released.

The DOTC and the LTO policy on license cover platea has caused confusion among motorists that it has been gradually suspended — a quiet retreat into oblivion for the moment.

This withdrawal has prompted questions of the purpose of that policy and cast doubts on why this was pursued? Was there any other motive aside from the public good ? Who or where there parties waiting in the shadows to profit in this?

Such were and are unintended consequences of such actions.

The DOTC and ifs agencies like the LTO should not stop the motorists: the tax payers from protecting their property: license plate if it does not obstruct the legal obligation of putting on public display a valid and up-to-date license plate. The DOTC and its agencies like the LTO should make sure that motorists: tax payers get their license plates on time as promised; make efforts to remove the perception of incomptence or worse corruption from the imposition and implementation of such policy; and work with other agencies of government to curb the rampant theft of license plates, to be used to cover more sinister crimes like car theft, robbery and even murder.

In a Democracy like ours it pays to keep an eye on Government and all its dealings.

Who Watches the Watchmen? – Juvenal

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