The use of commemorative plates on motor vehicles in the Philippines is subject to a set of rules that ensures both respect for tradition and adherence to order—the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Administrative Order AOL-2010-021. Failure to adhere to these guidelines makes it an illegal use of commemorative plates. Without the appropriate permission or authorization to use of commemorative plates, doing so is also prohibited in the Philippines.
This LTO AOL-2010-021 outlines the general guidelines on the use of commemorative plates—from the proper placement to the issuance and duration of commemorative plates, intricately weaving a connection between national, historical, and international significance with the nation’s roads. It also answers the question about whether commemorative plates are allowed for use in the Philippines or not.
What are Commemorative Plates
Commemorative plates are special vehicle plates designed to mark and honor specific events, occasions, or themes of national, historical, or international significance. Unlike regular license plates used for vehicle identification, commemorative plates serve a symbolic and celebratory purpose. These plates often feature unique designs, symbols, or artwork related to the event they commemorate, almost like artistic memorabilia of special events and celebrations worth remembering.
The use of commemorative plates in the country has a long history. Its formal introduction can be traced to the establishment of regulations by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) under specific administrative orders. These regulations provided guidelines for the issuance, design, and usage of special license plates to commemorate events of national, historical, or international significance.
What are Commemorative Plates for
The primary purposes of commemorative license plates in the Philippines include:
- Celebration of Significance: Commemorative plates are issued to celebrate events that hold particular importance for the nation, ranging from national milestones and historical anniversaries to international occasions that reflect the Philippines’ participation in global affairs.
- Cultural Heritage: The designs on commemorative plates typically incorporate elements of Filipino culture, history, and art, showcasing symbols and motifs that resonate with the Filipino identity.
- Promotion of Awareness: By displaying commemorative plates on vehicles, individuals and organizations can contribute to raising awareness about specific events or causes. The mobile nature of vehicles ensures that the commemorative message reaches a wide audience as it travels across different regions.
- Honoring Contributions: Commemorative plates may also be issued to honor individuals, groups, or organizations that have made significant contributions to society, culture, or national development, as a form of public acknowledgment of achievements and contributions.
- Limited-Time Recognition: The issuance of commemorative plates is often time-bound. They are displayed for a specific period, typically one year, following approval by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary. This limited display period adds a temporal aspect to the recognition, emphasizing the dynamic nature of commemorating events.
- Regulatory Guidelines: The use of commemorative plates is regulated by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), and specific rules and guidelines govern their placement on vehicles. This includes directives on where to position the commemorative plates in relation to regular license plates and the prohibition of placing them at the rear of the vehicle.
Overall, commemorative license plates serve as visual tributes that allow the Filipino people to express pride in their heritage, celebrate shared achievements, and promote a sense of national identity as they traverse the roads of the Philippines.
Guidelines for Using Commemorative Plates Used in the Philippines
Using commemorative plates in the Philippines involves a process governed by regulations set by the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Here are the general steps and guidelines:
Step 1. Identification of Eligible Events
Determine whether the event or occasion you want to commemorate meets the criteria set by the LTO. Commemorative plates are typically reserved for events with national, historical, or international significance. Certification from relevant authorities, such as the department or agency concerned, the National Historical Institute, or the Department of Foreign Affairs, may be required.
Step 2. Application Process
If you are an individual or part of a group, organization, government agency, or NGO interested in obtaining commemorative license plates, initiate the application process. Contact the Land Transportation Office or the relevant government agency to inquire about the specific requirements and procedures.
Step 3. Authorization and Approval
Obtain the necessary written approval for the use of commemorative plates. This authorization is typically granted by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), based on the recommendation of the Assistant Secretary of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Step 4. Design Submission
Provide the design for the commemorative license plates. This design should reflect the theme or significance of the event being commemorated. The design will go through an approval process to ensure it aligns with the guidelines and regulations set by the LTO.
Step 5. Issuance of Plates and Stickers
Once the application is approved, commemorative license plates and, if applicable, stickers will be issued. These plates and stickers should be used strictly in accordance with the guidelines provided by the LTO.
Step 6. Placement on Vehicles
Install the commemorative plates on the vehicle following the specified guidelines. It is important to note that these plates are not a replacement for regular license plates, in order to maintain the vehicle’s legal identification.
Positioning Commemorative Plates
The foremost rule dictates the placement of commemorative plates on motor vehicles. It explicitly states that these special plates should not overshadow or replace the regular license plate. Instead, they find their designated space either to the right or left of the regular plate. This deliberate arrangement preserves the essential function of regular plates while allowing the commemorative ones to convey a story of significance.
This meticulous positioning reflects a balance between tradition and order. The regular plate, a legal requirement for identification, maintains its prominence, while the commemorative plate stands as a visual testament to an event of national, historical, or international importance.
A Strict Prohibition: The Rear is Off Limits
The rules leave no room for ambiguity—placing commemorative plates at the rear of a motor vehicle is strictly prohibited. This prohibition emphasizes the importance of adhering to the established norms and underscores the significance of the regular plate as the primary means of identification on the road.
By maintaining the commemorative plates exclusively at the front, this rule reinforces the notion that these plates are not just adornments but bearers of a message that deserves a place of honor.
Step 7. Display Period
Be aware of the display period for the commemorative plates. Typically, this period is one year from the month following approval by the DOTr Secretary. Ensure that the plates are displayed within this timeframe, and be prepared to remove them once the period expires. This time constraint introduces a sense of temporality to the tradition, inviting a renewal of significance and relevance with each passing year.
This temporal aspect adds a layer of dynamism to the use of commemorative plates, preventing them from becoming static artifacts and encouraging a continuous dialogue between tradition and the evolving landscape of events.
Step 8. Adherence to Regulations
Strictly adhere to the regulations outlined by the LTO. Placing commemorative plates at the rear of the vehicle is prohibited, and any deviation from the guidelines may result in penalties.
Step 9. Contribution to Awareness
Recognize the role of commemorative plates in contributing to awareness about the commemorated event. Whether used by individuals or organizations, these plates serve as mobile tributes, spreading the message as they travel on the roads of the Philippines.
Note that commemorative items aren’t always referring to plates. It extends beyond plates, to include commemorative stickers. Placed in the upper right corner of the front windshield, these stickers create a harmonious visual arrangement with the regular validating windshield sticker, positioned on the left upper side. This arrangement ensures that the windshield is a canvas where tradition and compliance converge.
By following these steps and guidelines, individuals and organizations can effectively use commemorative license plates in the Philippines, contributing to the celebration and recognition of events with cultural, historical, or national significance.
Significance, Certification, and Approval of Commemorative Plates in the Philippines
The issuance of commemorative plates and stickers is not a casual affair. The guidelines emphasize that these special items are reserved for events with national, historical, or international significance. Certification by the relevant authorities or department/agency concerned, the National Historical Institute, or the Department of Foreign Affairs – is a prerequisite.
Furthermore, the process doesn’t end there. Any group, organization, government agency, or NGO interested in using commemorative plates must obtain prior written approval from the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), based on the recommendation of the Assistant Secretary of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Unauthorized Use of Commemorative Plates
In certain instances, especially when you fail to secure the authority to use commemorative plates or the validity period of tour permission to use one has lapsed, the use of such plates is not allowed. Both the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTO have reminded the public time and again to avoid abusing the use of commemorative plates and using unauthorized commemorative plates as they are not supposed to give any privilege to the car owners. Plus, such abuse or unauthorized use of commemorative plates may translate to hefty fines and penalties when caught.
Fines and Penalties for Unauthorized Use of Commemorative Plates
Under DOTr, formerly Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Joint Administrative Circular No. 2014-01, and as per the continuous reminders from the LTO, operating a motor vehicle with an unauthorized use of commemorative plates is the same as driving with an unauthorized license plate and will result to a fine amounting to PHP 5,000.00 on the motor vehicle owner as well as the confiscation of the unauthorized plate.
Video: Proper Guidelines for Using Commemorative Plates
Commemorative plates are not illegal as they are. However, there are certain rules to follow if these plates are to be installed on your motor vehicle. Failure to adhere to these rules set forth by the DOTr can mean trouble, both for the car owners and the drivers of the motor vehicle with unauthorized commemorative plates.
Learn more about the proper guidelines on the use of commemorative plates by watching this video from Mario Montalban (mariomontalban34):
In the grand tapestry of Philippine road culture, the use of commemorative plates is more than an aesthetic choice – it’s a roadmap of respect and tradition. The rules outlined in LTO’s Administrative Order AOL-2010-021 provide the compass, ensuring that these plates and stickers navigate the roads with both reverence for the past and a keen awareness of the present. As vehicles adorned with commemorative plates traverse the nation’s roads, they become mobile tributes to events that have shaped the country’s narrative. The rules governing their use not only uphold the sanctity of tradition but also weave a seamless integration of respect, compliance, and celebration on the highways and byways of the Philippines.