FAQ: Everything You to Need to Know About Temporary Plates and No OR/CR, No Travel


Standardized temporary plates? No OR/CR, No Travel policy? Confused with all this? Get all the answers to your questions here. For ease of reading, we have indicated key words in bold.

What is this new issue with the Land Transportation Office (LTO)?

Well, aside from the backlog when it comes to the issuance of new number plates and driver licenses, there are two new issues here:

The first one deals with a memorandum issued by the Assistant Secretary of the LTO last January 11, 2017 and is already in effect. It has to do with the standardization of temporary plates by using the MV file number for motorcycles and a combination of conduction sticker and MV file number for anything with more than two wheels.

It’s the memorandum requiring all vehicles released on or after February 15, 2017 onwards to have a certain temporary plate format for “unity and ease of visual recognition.” And the memorandum put on vehicle dealers the obligation of attaching on the vehicle the unified temporary plate format with complete information before delivery or release to the buyer.

Now, the MV file number appears only on the Certificate of Registration (CR) which one gets only upon completion of the registration process. And thus the second issue is what impacts on the sale of vehicles.

The second issue is the more pressing one, but is often lumped together with the first issue and because the public has gotten used to lax implementation of the law.

This second issue is the strict implementation of the No OR/CR, No Travel rule.

In the first paragraph of the memo in which it cites Republic Act 4136 or the Traffic Code of the Philippines, the LTO will apprehend and fine drivers using an unregistered vehicle, be it a two-, three-, four-, or even six- or eight-wheeled vehicle.

The exact words the memo uses are: “to ensure that only registered motor vehicles are used or operated on any public highway”. This is the most critical part of the memo and it is much too overlooked.

RA 4136 specifies that only registered motor vehicles can be operated on Philippine roads. People think the conduction sticker allows use of a car.  That’s inaccurate because even on the LTO’s website it says:
(1.a.a.1) Issuance of Conduction Sticker – Conduction Stickers are only issued to accredited assemblers and importers of whole MV for road testing and delivery. The conduction sticker is used to allow legal utilization of motor vehicles prior to its initial registration.
The legal use referred to in the above is road testing and delivery.

Adding to the wrong impression about Conduction Stickers allowing use of a vehicle, is the idea that it is allowed for 7 days. This too is wrong.

The 7-day window for a dealer to register a sold vehicle with the LTO is merely the penalty-free window within which the registration must be processed. (RA 4136. Chapter V. Sec. 56. A.) This doesn’t mean that a vehicle can be operated without registration. In fact, RA 4136 also penalizes driving a motor vehicle without registration. (Chapter V. Sec. 56. D.)

So why exactly is needing an MV file number and not being able to use an unregistered vehicle going to impact on the buying experience? 

Well, if registration happened within the day of purchase, there would be no issue. The impact comes from the fact that it takes anywhere from 14 to 90 days to complete registration.

These completion times are based on transmittal receipts held by vehicle dealers.

Is it possible to complete the registration process within the 7-day period prescribed?

Oh yes, it is possible to complete registration within even 1, 2, or 3 days, but these usually happen when there is public scrutiny or special considerations like “SOP” or high connections.

Are these memorandums affecting Metro Manila only or is it nationwide?

This is nationwide.

Where can I see a copy of these memorandums?

You can check out the memorandum on the standardized plates here.  As for the No OR/CR, No Travel Policy, you can refer to the Traffic Code of the Philippines.

If it’s taking the government so long in issuing plates, why don’t we just use the Conduction Sticker numbers permanently?

As mentioned above, Conduction Stickers serve a very specific purpose. It’s issued to accredited assemblers and importers of whole motor vehicles (MV) for road testing and delivery only. The conduction sticker is used to allow the legal use of a vehicle prior to its initial registration. The LTO is only “enforcing the law” that requires motor vehicles to be registered before its release.

If I bought a vehicle before February 15, 2017, how does it affect me?

If you have your OR/CR with you, then these two memorandums don’t affect you much. You can be pulled over by authorized LTO personnel, yes, but there are no fines involved. All you need to prove is that: first, you bought the vehicle before February 15, hence not needing the standardized temporary plate; and second, that you have the OR/CR with you to prove ownership. In other words, if you don’t want the hassle, just ditch those “Euro” or “JDM” look temporary plates and go for the standardized format.

If you don’t have an OR/CR yet, you cannot use your vehicle. The 7-day window using the Vehicle Sales Invoice or Delivery Receipt, does not work anymore. There was never a 7-day legal usage window in the first place. It came about from misinterpretation and “nakagawian”. You can be fined P 10,000 for using an unregistered vehicle. If registered to another owner, the owner is fined P 10,000 and the driver, P 1,000.

If I bought a vehicle on or after February 15, 2017, how does it affect me?

Your vehicle should have been released by the dealer with the standardized temporary plate already attached. It should indicate details such as the Conduction Sticker number, dealer name, and MV File Number. And since the MV File Number is only generated once your vehicle has been registered, you should also have your OR/CR too.

If you still don’t have your OR/CR, you cannot use your vehicle. Even if you use the standardized temporary plate, but don’t have the MV File Number, you are considered an unregistered vehicle. You can be pulled over and fined. The fine is also P 10,000 to the owner and P 1,000 to the driver.

How many times can I be pulled over in a day? And how many times can they fine me?

It’s not known at this time.

If I get pulled over, what are my rights?

Understanding that there are delays in the issuance of the OR/CR, the LTO said that they’ll be lenient initially and let motorists and dealers out with just a warning. While they are working to speed up the vehicle registration process, they are discouraging motorists and dealers from giving “SOP” because this will simply lead to increased corruption within the LTO; the very same thing the Durterte Administration is trying to snuff out.

Do dealers have fines too?

Yes, they share in the burden too. The use of non-standardized temporary plates will net the dealer P 100,000 for the first violation; P 500,000 for the second violation; and revocation of their LTO accreditation for the third. The same fines apply if a vehicle is released with no MV file number because it makes the standardized temporary plate invalid. This is the reason why several dealers haven’t had any new vehicle release for almost a week now.

If I just bought a new vehicle, how long do I have to wait until my vehicle gets released?

It depends actually. Ideally, it takes only 7 days for the OR/CR to become available. Once you have it, then you can freely use your new vehicle. In reality though, there have been some reports of backlog at the LTO stretching up to 90 days. If that’s the case, you can’t use your new vehicle or even bring it out of the showroom unless you either: drive it yourself and risk being fined; or two, bring it home on a car carrier and park it in your garage. In both cases, your new vehicle will be decoration in your garage until you get your hands on the OR/CR.

Who’s at fault with all these delays?

It seems the dealers and the LTO are pointing fingers at each other.

As a bit of a background, three types of paperwork is required to successfully register a new vehicle. You’ll need the Sales Invoice (dealer generated), PNP Clearance or MVCC (Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate) (PNP generated, applied for by dealer or manufacturer), and Certificate of Stock Reported or CSR (manufacturer or importer generated).

It seems the delays (from the dealer side) are coming from the issuance of the PNP Clearance and the CSR. The CSR is especially tricky since this comes from the manufacturers/distributors themselves, so the dealer has largely no control.

More often than not though, the delays have something to do with the LTO system itself. Though they have come up with solutions to reduce the registration backlog, such as implementing a DIY Registration System for dealers, the fact is, the 7-day window is rarely met. Also, the DIY registration system is still a concept under discussion among stakeholders. The actual implementation doesn’t even have a proposed launch date yet.

So the long processing time?

Apart from the finger pointing, another reason for such a long processing time is that the registration process has not significantly evolved since the signing of RA 4136 in 1964!

The CSR process requires multiple clearance application and reporting by the importer/manufacturer, then multiple clearance, evaluation, and registration by dealers, while also submitting multiple copies of redundant documentation despite computerization. And the same process exists despite the fact that the number of vehicles sold has grown exponentially since 1964.

What ties everyone’s hands is that the old law RA 4136 and Republic Act 6539 (An Act Preventing and Penalizing Carnapping) have strictly defined how the registration process must be done. Without a revision of these laws, the multiple redundant steps may still have to exist.

Even if dealers have submitted all the necessary documents for registration, the paperwork is lost in the multiple manual steps and reviews resulting in delays in the release of the OR/CR.

If I think I’ve encountered an erring LTO personnel, who can I contact?

You can contact the Land Transportation Office or LTO through their website or land line: 02-922-9061 to 66.

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