It says “MAYOR” in the front license plate instead of standard numbers.
His government red plate is attached on the back of the Toyota Grandia van — one of the exceptions to the rule that prohibits covering up a motor vehicle license registration numbers.
Two government agencies that have revived Oplan Red Plate said covering up a vehicle’s regular plate numbers is illegal.
“Using commemorative plates is allowed but these should not be placed over plate numbers,” Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol told Cebu Daily News.
He said the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will report to his office any government vehicle violating this rule, which promotes transparency and accountabiltiy.
LTO-7 Regional Director Raul Aguilos said another type of special plates called “vanity plates” are purchased for P10,000 each and manufactured by the LTO central office in Manila.
Vanity plates that state “Mayor” or “Governor” can be placed in lieu of a plate number.
However, he said a vanity plate should be placed on just one side of the vehicle, either in front or at the back.
Meanwhile, commemorative plates are issued upon approval of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
They can be placed side by side or on top of the original license plate.
These special occasion plates, which display the names of government offices and the date of their anniversaries expire after two years, he said.
Replacing regular plate numbers with a commemorative plate is a violation of Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines.
Apostol encouraged the public to report to the LTO or the Ombudsman any government vehicles misused for personal trips.
He said one can take photos of the government vehicle and post them in the LTO’s Facebook page, which is a partner in the Ombudsman’s Oplan Red Plate Program.
The public employee or official may be “reprimanded or suspended” if found guilty of using government vehicles for personal use.
The program is named after the distinct red registration plates of government vehicles.
In 2012, the Ombudsman Visayas received eight complaints of government vehicles used for personal purposes. /Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol