Twist of plates | Inquirer Business

Twist of plates

/ 02:36 AM September 09, 2013

This may be bad news to the millions of motorists who are still hoping for the DOTC, our beloved Department of Transportation and Communications, to fulfill its promise to come out with license plates by the end of the month.

About two months ago, the DOTC awarded a P3-billion contract for its project officially known as “license plate standardization” to a company based in the Netherlands called J. Knieriem B.V. Goes (JKG) and its local partner named Power Plates Development Concepts Inc.

Thus, our beloved DOTC officials gave their iron-clad promise that the Land Transportation Office, or the LTO, would issue the new license plates by the end of September this year.


The time frame for the delivery of the new improved license plates was one of the specifications in the bidding, included in the official TOR (terms of reference) formulated by the most promising DOTC, which in effect were the bidding rules.


In other words, if the license plates would not be available by the end of this month, the contract would be open to questions, because the DOTC-declared winning bidder would simply fail to follow the terms.

Now, the proposed design of the Dutch company for the new license plates would follow the black-and-white color scheme of car plates in Europe. Wow!

Moreover, based on the bidding rules, the new plates would supposedly use the latest technology in motor vehicle registration, with the license plates containing all sorts of security features.

The LTO even claimed at one point that those features should be enough to prevent tampering, theft and falsification of license plates—all designed to fight the rising cases of car theft in this country.

Various reports of course have noted that the car theft “business” has been flourishing in the past few years, mainly because the crime syndicates could easily obtain new LTO registration for stolen cars.

Translation: There has been collusion between the thieves and some LTO insiders.


Anyway, it is true that the DOTC awarded the contract to the winning bidder, but in a weird twist of fate, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya reportedly has yet to sign the contract to this day.

I am not kidding—the contract has been awarded last July, yet the DOTC boss reportedly has not yet signed it.

The thing is that, before the transportation secretary could sign the contract, he had to wait for the official papers from his department’s BAC (or the bids and awards committee), not to mention those from the technical working group.

From what I heard, the internal process in the DOTC has been delayed.

And so how in heaven’s name could our beloved LTO even begin to think that it would start releasing even some misshapen twisted license plates by the end of September, or even starting next month?

Moreover, the number of new license plates needed in this country every year is no laughing matter. The LTO would need to issue six million plates by the end of the year for all motor vehicles and motorcycles.

From what I heard, a top DOTC official has just left for Europe to attend, supposedly, an “air show” in the Netherlands and in Italy, plus a little side trip to Japan. The Netherlands happens to be the home country of the winning bidder in the P3-billion license plate project.

Word also goes around that the last time our travelling DOTC official had an official trip to Europe was when he had to visit—personally—a Czech train manufacturing company.

Also, it said that our globe-trotting bigshot from the DOTC would perhaps have to come up with a scenario showing that the winning bidder, Dutch firm J. Knieriem B.V. Goes, would meet the timetable specified in the bidding rules.

The only problem now is that, from what I gathered, our nomadic DOTC official would be out of the country for three weeks, giving him only a few days to deliver the good news from the Dutch firm regarding the timely delivery of the plates.

Meaning, of course, that the DOTC would have to lengthen the completion period for the project, which would have to be much longer than what was specified in the bidding rules.

By this time, anyway, the public has gotten used to all the delays in the various infrastructure projects of the government under the Aquino (Part II) administration.

*  *  *

The Philippines moved up 10 notches in the latest World Economic Forum competitiveness index, from 75th place to 65th place.

In a press conference apparently held to announce the good news, the co-chair of Philippines’ National Competitiveness Council, Guillermo Luz, noted that this year was the first time the country landed on the upper 50 percent of the 148 countries in the WEF global survey.

During the six-year term of our leader Benigno Simeon (aka BS), the target seems to be for the Philippines to hit the top 30 percent, at least, of all the 148 countries in the competitiveness index. You know—No. 50 at least.

Well and good! Perhaps this country needs the confidence boost.

Still, little was said about the other aspects of the WEF survey, such as the views of the survey respondents, who were mostly top executives of gigantic companies, regarding the most problematic factors in doing business in this country.

Based on the WEF survey, topping the list of problematic factors here was the “inadequate supply of infrastructure,” which was followed by corruption, inefficiency of government bureaucracy, tax regulations, restrictive labor regulations and tax rates.

Look at all those top five problematic factors cited by the respondents—they all involved the government.

In terms of infrastructure, the latest WEF survey actually put us at 98th place, which was already an improvement from 105th place in the previous survey. The picture would become more depressing if you would only look at the breakdown: for road, 87th place; for railroad, 89th place; for air transport, 113th place; and for seaport, 116th place.

In recent reports, our dear leader, BS, said he was confident he would be able to complete infrastructure projects before his term ends in 2016. Well and good. That would be less than three years from today.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

It is just that major infrastructure projects like airports and seaports, or even railways and tollways, would take more than three years to complete.

TAGS: competitiveness index, Department of Transportation and Communications, J. Knieriem B.V. Goes, license plates, Philippines, WEF

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.