IN AN effort to streamline the distribution of license plates across Central Visayas, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the region has unveiled a new approach.

Pursuing their goal of significantly reducing the backlog of pending license plates, LTO 7 has launched the "Oplan Bigay Plaka" initiative, targeting motor vehicles and motorcycles bearing temporary plates.

Director Glen Galario of LTO 7 assumed command of this initiative, spearheading the operation on Saturday, September 9, 2023.

The primary aim of this initiative is to collect vital data from motorists, simplifying the process of verifying the availability of their licensed plates.

Galario said that starting June 9, 2023, LTO 7 had successfully distributed approximately 63,083 license plates within Central Visayas. Nonetheless, a significant backlog of over 600,000 plates remains to be distributed.

He emphasized their commitment to comply with the directives of LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Vigor D. Mendoza II, with a dedication to accelerating the distribution of these vehicle plates throughout the region.

During the Saturday operation, Galario personally engaged with a driver of a service vehicle in one of Cebu City's barangays. He conveyed the agency's mission to expand its plate distribution services as part of the "Oplan Bigay Plaka" activity on N. Bacalso Avenue, Cebu City.

Previously, he had instructed all LTO 7 districts and extension offices across Central Visayas to accept the necessary documents required for plate claims.

The agency's personnel will subsequently oversee the process of securing the license plates once they become available, with registered owners receiving notifications specifying when and where to claim their plates.

In a press conference held on August 30, as he took on his responsibilities as the new assistant director, Arturo Roque Apolinar, was entrusted by Galario with a task.

Apolinar has been mandated to spearhead the agency's efforts to diminish the substantial stockpile of license plates at its Talisay City office.

During the visit of LTO Chief Mendoza II on August 1 to the LTO 7's facility in Talisay City, there were approximately 670,000 unclaimed license plates on-site. Among these, 530,000 were designated for motorcycles, while 140,000 were allocated for motorized vehicles, some dating as far back as 2018.

Central Visayas has faced an enduring challenge, with the highest number of unclaimed vehicle plates dating back to 2018.

At present, the Plate Distribution Center in SM City Seaside in Cebu City remains operational for walk-in clients.

Meanwhile, LTO 7 has initiated collaborations with dealers to enhance the efficient distribution of license plate numbers as another available approach.

Aden Belza, head of the operations division at LTO 7, has unveiled plans to partner with local government units and other related stakeholders, aiming to streamline the distribution of these long-awaited license plates. (KJF)