Wheels of Justice
Temporary license plates
‘the car owner has to care for and keep the license plates clean and firmly affixed’
Question: i lost my license plates. What are the rules i should follow for the use of a temporary license plate while waiting for the official one?
You must report the loss of the license plate to the LTO District Office that issued the Certificate of Registration for your car, and apply for a replacement license plate as well as an authorization to use an improvised license plate for the time being.
While the laws and regulations are silent on the period to report the loss of the license plate, it’s best to report the matter within seven to 15 days from the loss. After that, the authorities may question you for not having a license plate and not reporting the loss. If the license plate is used in the commission of a crime, you will be dragged into the investigation. The act of driving a motor vehicle without the proper license plate is punishable with a fine under Joint Administrative Order No. 2014 - 01.
I can hear you all screaming, “But where is our license plate?” I need to stress the need to strictly comply with the standards set by our laws, and not to accept what has become a watered-down practice by the regulatory authorities, enforcers, and car owners. The delayed production and delivery of license plates is not an excuse to skip the car owner’s duty to report the loss of yours.
After all, the license plate distinguishes one car from the next. It identifies the car and the owner; if stolen, it is used to track down and identify vehicle. It is the basis to investigate the owner of the car for involvement in crime or accident. For the tax authorities and banks, the license plate identifies the subject of a tax lien or chattel mortgage.
Under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, all motor vehicles used or operated on any highway of the country must be registered with the LTO for the current year. All registered motor vehicles shall display its license plate in conspicuous places, one in front and one in the rear. The car owner has the duty to care for and keep the license plates clean and firmly affixed to make them entirely visible and always legible.
In addition, the Code provides that: “No person shall make or use or attempt to make or use a driver license, badge, certificate of registration, number plate, tag, or permit in imitation or similitude of those issued under this Act, or intended to be used as or for a legal license, badge, certificate, plate, tag or permit, or with intent to sell or otherwise dispose of the same to another.” The penalties are as provided by the Revised Penal Code.
To apply for a replacement license plate and an authorization to use an improvised license plate, you must submit to the LTO the following:
1) the registered owner’s affidavit attesting to the original’s loss (or damage); 2) a certified true copy and the original copy of the Certificate of Registration and current Official Receipt; 3) a duly accomplished and approved Motor Vehicle Inspection Report; 4) the Official Receipt showing payment for the replacement license plate; 5) in case of for-hire motor vehicles, a certification from the LTFRB that the plates have not been surrendered; 6) in case of companyowned vehicles, a Secretary’s Certificate authorizing a representative to file the application; and, 7) a Philippine National Police– Highway Patrol Group clearance that the vehicle is not stolen or reported involved in a crime.
After submitting these documents, you can secure the authorization to use an improvised license plate and wait for the issuance of a duplicate or replacement license plate.
It sounds so simple, but without the authorization to use an improvised license plate, you cannot install anything that looks like a clone of the official one—and that includes the so-called ‘Euro’ or ‘JDM’ plates.
The rules above apply to the old license-plate series (or the 1981 series) and to those in the current series (or the 2014 series). For cars with an assigned plate number under the current series, but without the issuance of the license plate (dubbed ‘Virtual Plate’), there is obviously nothing to declare lost; however, the requirement for an authorization to use an improvised license plate will apply.
For cars using the conduction sticker alone, and without the assignment of the plate number or the issuance of the license plate, the car owner and the car dealer is required by the MMDA Memorandum Circular No. 06, Series of 2013, to display the conduction sticker number prominently on the space allotted for the regular plate number in the front and rear of the car. Thus, the conduction sticker serves as the basis for the UVVRP or coding scheme. This display of the conduction sticker shall be replaced with the LTO plates once issued.
So long as the conduction sticker numbers at the space for the license plate do not appear to be a regular plate number for vehicles released prior to June 1st, 2017, the requirement for an authorization to use an improvised license plate will arguably not apply.
For the vehicles released from June 1st of this year and onwards, the conduction sticker number shall be used as the temporary plate number. In addition, the temporary license plate must contain the dealer’s name and the MV File Number (LTO Memorandum dated January 11th, 2017, and February 23rd, 2017). As this is an express requirement of the LTO, we assume that the requirement for an authorization to use an improvised license plate will not apply.