Land Transportation Office-Region 12 (Soccsksargen) director Macario Gonzaga. (Photo courtesy of LTO-12)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- About 60,000 new license plates have remained unclaimed in district offices of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in parts of Soccsksargen, an official said on Friday.

LTO 12 (Soccsksargen) Director Macario Gonzaga said the unclaimed license plates were part of the batches processed by the agency for new and existing motor vehicles from 2016 up to July last year.

Based on their monitoring, Gonzaga said only a few vehicle owners have been visiting their district offices to verify and claim their license plates.

“Before, the problem was the delayed release of the plates. Now, it’s the piling up of unclaimed plates,” he said in an interview.

Gonzaga urged vehicle owners to visit the district and extension offices where their motor vehicles were registered to check whether their license plates were already available for release.

The LTO has district offices in this city, Koronadal City, Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat and Surallah in South Cotabato. The extension offices are located in Kabacan and Midsayap in North Cotabato, Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Alabel in Sarangani.

The agency has an existing online verification facility for license plates dubbed “Motor Vehicle 7-Character Plate Backlog Inquiry” in its official web portal.

Gonzaga warned that hefty penalties await owners of motor vehicles that were already issued with new plates but failed to claim and use them.

“Let’s not wait for the enforcers to remind us because that will already include a penalty,” he said.

Gonzaga said the agency was on track with the processing of license plates and in addressing the previous backlog, which has affected the entire country. (PNA)