Many Filipino motorists would rather deface their motor-vehicle license plates--yes, those officially issued by the Land Transportation Office--than attach these to their cars in their original form. We see plates that have been stripped of their paint and adorned with subtly different art; plates covered by such dark plastic you can hardly recognize the alphanumeric figures; or plates made entirely for vanity (or number-coding exemption). In other words, many car owners do not possess a high regard for what is otherwise a legally mandatory motoring article.
Why is that?
One of our readers, Stephen Nicolas Malaluan, may have provided us with an irrefutable answer, and it's that our license plates are of such poor quality that some people think of them as a joke.
The photos you see here were sent by Stephen, who wrote: "I just got the plates for my new car. Before that, I had plates custom-built with my conduction sticker's info embossed on them. When I got the LTO-issued plates, I was disappointed. Compared with the custom-built, unofficial plates, the quality of the LTO plates is very poor. The edges have unevenly cut and sharp portions that will surely scratch the car's paint. And the paint even have fingerprint smudges! Did they think they were making a GT-R engine so they had to leave a personal mark on the finished product? I paid almost the same price for the custom plates, but the difference in quality is very apparent. We really need to retire the current-design plates already. And I hope they'll get rid of corruption when they produce the new ones so the quality won't suffer."
Wow. These are very incriminating images. We've even heard stories about the screw holes not being aligned or something. We definitely do not deserve this. It's not an excuse to break the law, but would you be excited to attach these plates to your new car?