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ROUGH CUTS | Why the many unregistered motor vehicles

Headline story in this newspaper yesterday: “Daylight assault.”

In the said attack a 32-year-old father was killed and his 14 years old daughter was wounded. According to a witness who told the police about the incident the assailant was on board a black SUV parked on the side of the national highway fronting the victims’ residence. An M-16 rifle was reportedly used based on gathered evidence by police investigators in Marilog.

We have no doubt that the victim might have committed a grievous sin against some persons with financial capability. The gunman could not have used an expensive vehicle to carry out his task if the mastermind or the assailant believes that using an SUV and an M-16 rifle to dispose of the victim if it was not worth it.

The apprehension of both the mastermind and the suspected gunman is another big challenge for the police. And they should not let the crime morphed into oblivion because the victim and his daughter are nobody but simple mountain folks. They too are citizens of this country.


According to Land Transportation Office (LTO) Region XI Director Neil Canedo his agency will launch a massive crackdown on unregistered vehicles in the entire Davao Region. It is part of the LTO’s Road Safety Action Plan.

We assume that the center of its crackdown will be Davao City because according to records at the LTO the city ranks second in terms of the number of unregistered motor vehicles in the Region with 239,000 units. Davao City is outranked by Davao del Norte for first place with 322,212 motor vehicles unregistered.

We are certain that the bulk of these unregistered motor vehicles are motorcycles as these days this kind of transportation is sold by so many outlets in transactions that can be considered “a dime a dozen.”
We are certain the businessmen dealing in distributing motorcycles will not be in accord with what we observe. But that exactly is happening. With the number of motorcycle brands coming out in the market and the growth of the so-called “Habal-habal” mode of transporting people and farm products especially in remote mountain barangays the sale of motorcycles is getting to be a brisk business.

And hardly a traffic law enforcer is assigned or wanted to be detailed in areas leading to the remotest of barangays whether these are in Davao City or in the other Davao Region provinces.

We are certain too, that the number of unregistered motorbikes is as many as the number of those driving the motor cycles without license.

Of course the number of 4-wheeled vehicles not registered with the LTO may not be as big as can be imagined. But just the same these are unregistered and certainly a blot in the records of the LTO XI insofar as its performance as an agency of government.

But why is the LTO XI unable to check on the growing number of unregistered motor vehicles? What are the causes of its failure in that aspect of its responsibility? We can only hazard to assume the following: the Agency does not have enough manpower to undertake massive monitoring of all vehicles plying on the roads.

And we also believe that agency itself is largely responsible in its monitoring failure. Why, because for some years already it has somehow neglected to provide each vehicle with one very effective monitoring tool – the stickers showing the year of its registration.

For a time motor vehicle owners had been paying for the stickers but not a single piece of this item listed in the LTO official receipt had been received for years. It was only lately that the stickers have been taken out from the list of items in the OR.

Had the LTO continued to provide the stickers every time a vehicle is registered or its registration renewed every year then traffic enforcers whether they are organic with the LTO or are deputized by the office, can easily checked whether the vehicle is registered in a particular year. The enforcers need not flag down the vehicle because the numbers on the stickers can be read at a given distance.

Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) for the transportation agency the non-issuance of stickers is seemingly “institutionalized.” Therefore, we believe that the agency itself is abetting its own failure to undertake a major responsibility of the office.


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