At last I know the answer to a vexing little question that has bothered me since February: What exactly did the license plate on my new truck mean? All automobile plates on Guam are coded with three letters and four numbers. The three letters indicate a village on the island; DED means Dededo, TUM means Tumon, YIG means Yigo, etc. A similar pattern exists for trucks, with four number followed by three letters signifying an island landmark; TLP is Two Lover’s Point, MLL is Mount Lam Lam, etc.
Well my new truck’s license plate ends with TBJ, and new sequence. And it has bothered me for months. TBJ? TBJ?? What is that? Tarague Beach, Jinapsan? Turns out is means nothing – it’s a mistake by the DMV. The new plates were supposed to be TBG – Tumon Bay Guam, but it got screwed up somehow along the line. Here’s the story from the June 13, 2007 edition of the Marianas Variety.
By Trina A. San Agustin
Variety News Staff
YOU may have noticed this new license plate sequence for commercial and pickup trucks: “TBJ.” Chances are, your guesses are wrong as to what these letters stand for.
Revenue and taxation director Art Ilagan said the suffix sequence was supposed to be “TBG” to stand for “Tumon Bay Guam.”
“When we got the plates, we noticed that it ended with a ‘J’ and not ‘G’ as we ordered. We could not send them back for corrections because we were running out of license plates and we needed them,” Ilagan said.
But the Department of Revenue and Taxation’s Motor Vehicle Division is now working on changing the loo k of the current plates by 2008.
The letters on license plates for commercial and pickup trucks are supposed to be abbreviations for Guam landmarks. For example, “TLP” stands for “Two Lovers Point” and “MSR,” for “Mount Santa Rosa.”
Frank Blas, acting administrator for DMV, said the agency did have enough plates but figured that the “TBJ” sequence plates were in good condition so they went ahead and issued them out to the public.
“They are in good quality and there is no law in place that requires the letters to signify a landmark,” Blas added.
About 1,000 pairs of “TBJ” plates arrived on Guam, and DMV is now waiting for the arrival of the corrected plate with “TBG.”
Blas also told Variety that soon, residents will have to turn in their current plates for a newer, more colorful, and more attractive license plates altogether.
“This has been in the planning for the past two or three years,” Blas said. “We’re looking at a new look to the plates before the end of the year. The director and the governor are working together to finalize the new look of the license plates. We are revamping the whole look with different colors.”
Blas said instead of having three letters, the new license plates will have only two letters with a five-number sequence after.
For example, the license plate “DED 5867” would be replaced by “DE56874.”
For commercial vehicles and pickup trucks, the sequence would be “84634TL” instead of “8463 TLP.”
Blas was not too sure if the new number sequence example would be used in its final draft. He said the director and the governor would be the ones to describe how the new plates would look like.
The last time Guam’s license plates were changed was in the early 90’s, according to Ilagan.
The current plates replaced green and white license plates that contained random number and letter sequences which did not stand for anything significant, as opposed to the current plates that represent villages and local landmarks, with the exclusion of the “TBJ” plates.