In the vehicle-registration process, 'stenciling' refers to the procedure of obtaining an impression of a motor vehicle's (or a motorcycle's) engine and chassis numbers. It's often used to monitor and make sure that these numbers are registered to a specific car or bike. In the past, this was done to all vehicles.
Due to the limited number of personnel at field offices, the step is now often performed by non-employees called 'stencil aides.' The downside to this is that, in some cases, the procedure is where the 'fixing' activities start.
In line with the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Service Act of 2018 (whew, that's a mouthful), otherwise known as R.A. No. 11032, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is waiving the need for stenciling on brand-new vehicles and motorcycles. This is also applicable to straightforward renewal and color-change transactions.
This doesn't mean that stenciling is long gone, however—various transactions still require it. These include the registration and renewal of for-hire vehicles, rebuilt or assembled vehicles, and secondhand imported vehicles, as well as ownership transfer. (Oh, and recovered stolen vehicles too).
And here's a bit of trivia to help you out: Prior to stenciling, the LTO requires that you wait 20 to 30 minutes for your engine to cool down before the stencil aide carries out the procedure.
All the same, the stencil procedure is one less step for those of you with ordinary renewals to settle and for others who plan to purchase a brand-new ride.
Note: This story was written by Elijah Martin, a Top Gear PH intern.