VERA FILES FACT CHECK: LTO Chief flip-flops on contingency plan for shortage of license plates

Printing of your own license plate is prohibited.


Vehicle owners “can create a plate number” in the absence of one issued by the Land Transportation Office.

Amid the anticipated shortage in the supply of license plates for motorcycles and cars, Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Jose Arturo “Jay Art” Tugade backtracked on his initial statement that vehicle owners may “create” a plate number to address the shortage issue.


In a press briefing last April 27, Tugade said:

“Unang-una po siguro, nais ko lang pong bigyang liwanag na bawal po mag-print ng sariling plaka. Bawal po gumawa ng sariling plaka. Ang natukoy ko po doon sa nabanggit ko ay dalawang uri po no’ng plaka: Mayro’n po tayong temporary plate at meron din po tayong improvised plate. Pero nais ko lang pong ulitin ulit bawal po mag-print ng sariling plaka.”

(First of all, I just want to clarify that it is prohibited to print your own license plate. You should not make your own license plate. What I said earlier pertains to two types of license plates: we have temporary plates and we also have improvised plates. But I would like to reiterate, printing your own license plate is prohibited.)


Source: Land Transportation Office – Philippines, LTO PRESS CONFERENCE, April 27, 2023, watch from 00:05 to 00:51


Tugade walked back on his statement the previous day when he said that owners of motor vehicles may “‘create their own license plate”’ as part of LTO’s contingency plan to address the looming shortage.

On April 26, Tugade, in an interview on ANC, said:

“One of the contingencies that we have in place is to allow the temporary issuances of motor vehicle plates and motorcycle plates by the owner. So, for example, ‘yung motorcycle owners, in the absence of a plate number, they can create a plate number and on the plate number it will state the motor vehicle file number of the motorcycle.”


Source: ANC 24/7, Headstart: LTO Chief Jay Art Tugade on ID cards shortage, extension of driver’s license validity, April 26, 2023, watch from 18:09 to 18:47

He added that LTO officials will verify these plate numbers by matching their file numbers with what is indicated in the vehicle’s registration certificate, similar to the existing protocols for brand-new vehicles.

Aside from the issuance of official license plates, LTO allows vehicle owners and drivers to use a temporary plate or an improvised plate.

In the April 27 press briefing, Tugade explained that the temporary plates he was referring to are those provided by car dealers for brand-new cars and motorcycles. They contain the conduction sticker for cars and the motor vehicle file number for motorcycles.

On March 10, the LTO released a memorandum authorizing the use of temporary license plates while the agency addresses the backlog in the production and issuance of license plates. It reiterates the agency’s Jan. 11, 2017 order providing specifications for temporary plates that the LTO-accredited dealers must comply with.

Improvised plates, on the other hand, are used as substitute plates by vehicle owners whose official plates were stolen, lost, mutilated or broken. Both types of plates require authorization for use from the LTO.

As of press time, LTO has reported that its latest inventory shows there are only a million plates in its stock for motorcycles and 300,000 for motor vehicles nationwide.

Earlier, the agency also revealed that its stock of plastic driver’s license cards is running low, urging LTO offices to roll out temporary driver’s license documents printed on the back of official receipts.


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Land Transportation Office – Philippines, LTO PRESS CONFERENCE, April 27, 2023

ANC 24/7, Headstart: LTO Chief Jay Art Tugade on ID cards shortage, extension of driver’s license validity, April 26, 2023

Land Transportation Office – Philippines, Reiteration of Memorandum Dated 11 January 2017, March 10, 2023

Land Transportation Office – Philippines, Memorandum: Conduction Sticker Number as Temporary License Plate Number, Feb. 20, 2017

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Rules on Plate Numbers, updated June 7, 2022

Land Transportation Office – Philippines, PRESS CONFERENCE 4/20/2023, April 27, 2023

Land Transportation Office – Philippines, Dahil sa kapos na suplay ng plastic cards



(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)