Thousands of license plates are now being ordered in hopes of addressing the acute shortage of license plates at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
According to Department of Public Safety Commissioner Edward Camacho, funds for the plates have been identified within the department to address the shortage.
“I believe we’ve found money within the department,” he said yesterday. “We’ve identified the money, and various divisions are chipping in to meet the necessary amount.”
Camacho disclosed that about $5,000 was needed to order the new plates.
“We hope to recoup the money from the owners of vehicles. They will buy the license plates and that money will go back to the department,” he said.
This developed soon after a new law was passed requiring all vehicles to display license plates at both the front and rear ends.
Camacho said that due to the current unavailability of license plates, enforcing the law would not take effect until August 15.
“I’m giving a month from [Thursday],” he said. “People are coming in and are claiming to have lost their plate, so they need a new pair. I am not going to burden operators, and I am giving them an extension.”
Gov. Juan N. Babauta signed House Bill 14-18 into law on July 12 requiring the display of plates on both ends of all vehicles.
“This requirement will greatly enhance the ability of our law enforcement officials to quickly identify vehicles and assist residents to recognize vehicles entering their private property,” Babauta said.
For his part, Camacho praised the passage of the law, as it will prevent the sharing of registration stickers.
The new law states that operating a vehicle that has no license plates on either rear or front sides is a misdemeanor, entailing imprisonment or fine.
Rep. Claudio Norita, a former police major, introduced the bill, along with Reps. Jesus SN. Lizama, Janet U. Maratita, Crispin M. Ogo, and Ray N. Yumul.
The bill states that the lack of license plates at the front or rear of vehicles was giving problems to the DPS, “creating difficulty in identifying fleeing vehicles.”
Also, Babauta suggested to the Legislature to come up with another bill that would seek to regulate the display of license plates on modified vehicles.