Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez on Monday agreed with a suggestion of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that motorcycle plates could be produced at the Muntinlupa national penitentiary to be able to meet the production target of 18 million plates by June 2022.
Appearing before the Senate committee chaired by Senator Richard J. Gordon, Lopez and Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said the suggestion is possible but Galvante said he has to ask the winning plate manufacturing contractor for its consent.
Gordon, who proposed the idea, said the national penitentiary has a lot of manpower but the inmates have to be compensated.
The demand for more motorcycle plates is high in Mindanao, transport officials said.
During today’s hearing, Galvante said 1.4 million new motorcycle plates have so far been manufactured.
These include 875,000 plates that have been sent to LTO regional offices, 298,000 plates delivered to motorcycle dealers while 400,000 new plates are in transit.
Gordon did not hide his irritation at the failure of the LTO to enforce the Motorcycle Crime Prevention law passed almost two years ago that mandates the manufacture of relatively big and color-coded motorcycle plates.
He also said he would ask Department of interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano to direct local government units (LGUs) to impound motorcycle with no plates.
Lopez later strongly suggested that buyers of motorcycles should be given to option to choose the mode paying motorcycles which could be in cash or on installment basis.
He also suggested that certifications of registration should be available to the buyer within seven days, and plates should be released within 15 days.
Gordon said these suggestions, when implemented, would hopefully reduce drive-by killings by assailants riding in tandem whose victims included lawyers and judges.
Since the start of January alone, according to Gordon, 50 persons in 59 incidents. had been killed by assailants riding in tandem.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Debold Sinas testified that many motorcycles with fake or old plates had been impounded.
He also told Gordon that the PNP has already trained 2,000 policemen to be attached to the PNP Highway Patrol Group in its anti-crime campaign.