Two vehicles bearing the same plate number are registered in the foreign-made information technology (IT) platform of the Land Transportation Office (LTO)—the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS).
This was discovered when a private vehicle owner from Cebu City, Cecil Labang was barred from renewing the registration of her Toyota Avanza with plate number NEU 1976.
According to media reports, Labang sought the assistance of the Highway Patrol Group-Central Visayas (HPG-7) after the LTO found in its database that another Toyota Avanza but with a different color carried the same plate number as hers. Labang purchased her vehicle through an auto dealer in Cebu City last year and was able to register it with the LTO.
Meanwhile, the other vehicle owner, who refused to divulge his identity, claimed that he also bought his vehicle from the same auto trader. He only learned that his plate number was registered with another vehicle when his application for an RFID sticker to access the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway was denied due to a double entry of plate number.
The HPG-7 initially reported that the double plate incident is a possible scheme of criminals from Luzon, and that one of the two vehicles might be stolen. LTO-7 Regional Director, Victor Caindec already committed to cooperating with the HPG’s investigation.
Following the incident, Facebook users who commented on the post of Cebu-based media outlet, The Freeman, slammed LTO for the failure of its system to detect the registration of the “clone plate number.” Facebook user, Tita Merz said, “Everything is online already, thus, duplication should not happen.” They also hit the agency for its “continuous incompetence,” and “corruption.”
This is not the first time that the LTMS had inaccuracies in its database. It can be recalled that a vehicle owner was prohibited from renewing his driver’s license due to a motorcycle violation reflected in his LTMS account. In an interview with GMA 7’s 24-Oras in August 2022, complainant Leonyl Salvador said he was surprised to see an unpaid motorcycle violation in the LTMS, which occurred in 2018 in Iloilo. But Salvador claimed that he does not drive a motorcycle and had never been to Iloilo.
In October 2022, a rundown truck that was towed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in Quezon City shocked authorities when they found out that it has a valid LTO registration. This prompted LTO to investigate how worn-out vehicles can pass the registration process without being detected by the LTMS.
The LTMS is connected with the controversial Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVIC) that conducts a 70-point test for vehicles prior to renewal of registration.
Just recently, transport groups led by the National Confederation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (NACTODAP) asked the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to suspend the operations of PMVICs until the issues on its legality, pricing, and standardization have been resolved.
NACTODAP President Ariel Lim also slammed the unreasonable shutting down of Private Emission Testing Centers (PETC) to give way to PMVICs. Lim revealed that numerous motorists could not renew the registration of their vehicles due to the scarce number of PMVICs. While others, especially those living in far-flung islands and provinces are forced to spend more time and money on a vehicle test. According to the DOTr, there are only 99 PMVICs that are currently operating nationwide.
It can be recalled that the LTMS is part of the P3.19-billion Road IT Infrastructure project of the LTO that was awarded to the Joint Venture Agreement of German IT firm, Dermalog, and its local partners in May 2018. The project has been repeatedly flagged by the Commission on Audit due to delays and alleged undue payments.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has already filed a resolution in August 2022, urging the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate the alleged undue payments of the LTO to its foreign contractor despite the incomplete turnover of deliverables as reported in the 2021 COA report.
The said COA report disclosed that all core applications within the LTMS, such as the Driver’s Licensing System (DLS) and the Motor Vehicle Inspection and Registration System (MVIRS) were already paid despite having several glitches and performance issues.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has yet to schedule the hearing on Pimentel’s resolution.
Image credits: LTO