Manila, Philippines — It is definitely more fun in the Philippines – exactly as the Department of Tourism advertising mantra says – not only because Filipinos think up of the smartest and sometimes stupid things, but get away with it.
In a surprise move, the country’s Department of Motor Vehicles has actually adopted what was once a smart yet illegal activity, as an official policy. Effective July 15, 2013, the Department will be issuing two-for-one vehicle licenses whereby citizens or businesses owning two or more vehicles can purchase identical license plates for the price of one. This new policy is expected to solve the problem of many vehicle owners not obtaining the proper license plates because the cost and fees are too expensive.
The new policy is expected to put the Department of Motor Vehicles at odds with the Metro Manila Development Authority, particularly with the latter’s “coding” program. Under this coding system, motor vehicles whose license plates ending with an odd or even number are prohibited from the streets and highways of Metro Manila on specified days and times of the week. For example, vehicles wth license plates ending in 1 are prohibited on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Vehicles with license plates ending in 2 are prohibited on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The system has been in effect for many years as a way to solve the traffic gridlock that’s been the hallmark of Metro Manila’s roadways.
Asked for his reaction to the two-for-once license plates, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who as president of the Philippines was impeached and convicted for corruption, said “I don’t care either way. I am exempted from the coding rules and I always have police car escorts wherever I go so traffic is not a problem for me.”
Already, some enterprising Filipinos are planning to buy the two-for-one license plates and sell the other for half the price.