At least forty vehicles owned by the Dumaguete city government are illegally operating in the streets, the 2007 Commission on Audit reported disclosed.
The COA has revealed that thirty four (34) city-owned vehicles are bearing private (green) plates, instead of the mandated red-colored plates.
In addition, seven other city owned vehicles are operating without license plates at all.
The thirty four city owned vehicles bearing private plates consist of 14 Honda motorcycles, 3 Suzuki multi-cabs, 10 dump trucks and 7 service vehicles of various brands.
The COA also reports that a Hummer assigned to the city economic enterprises department, an ambulance assigned to the health office, an Isuzu dump truck and four Honda motorcycles assigned to the city planning, PNP, sectoral desk and city treasurer’s office are all without license plates (whether private or gov’t owned).
The COA reports that one motorcycle was seen to have government plate with the numbers painted green, ostensibly to make it appear that the motor is not government-owned.
No "For Official Use"
In addition, the COA reports that out of 103 city vehicles inspected, 76 vehicles were not marked with “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.”
So, government vehicles bear private plates.
It is not marked “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”.
What is the result?
According to the COA, “ the use of private plates, without ‘FOR OFFICIAL USE’ markings allows the misuse or personal use of such vehicles by officials and employees assigned thereto.”
City blames LTO
But the OIC of the general services office is blaming the LTO for non-availability of government (red) plates.
The General Services Officer explains that private plates on government vehicles could not be replaced with government plates because the LTO “does not have a supply of government plates.”
Traffic Code prohibits substitution of plates
However, the Traffic Code (R.A. 4136), does not allow substitution of private plates if government plates are not available.
Section 17 (a) of the Traffic Code says that ”in case no number plates are available, the Commissioner or his deputies may issue, without charge, a written permit temporarily authorizing the operation of any motor vehicles with other means of identification.”
Government vehicles with private plates are violating Section 7 of R.A. 4136 or the Traffic Code, which mandates that government vehicles shall be registered as either government automobiles, government trucks, or government motorcycles.
As a matter of fact, assuming that there are no available government plates in the LTO, it is no justification to procure private license plates.
The LTO will just issue a temporary written permit, without any charge.
Besides, according to section 8 of the traffic code, registration under government motor vehicle shall be free of charge.
So why go to the extent of procuring private plates, and mis-representing a government vehicle as private?
The COA’s suspicions are correct:
This grand deception will allow the mis-use, abuse, and private use of such government vehicles outside office hours, like going to the market, going to the beach, going to parties, drinking sessions, going to the cockpit, pang-chicks, among others.
So hopefully the LTO will not have difficulty looking for these illegally operating city vehicles, the COA has listed them down, which we are re-printing, so the public (the real owners of the vehicles) may know.(To enlarge the table point the curser on the image and then left click)
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