‘Avenue for corruption?’ Poe seeks Senate probe into PMVIC issues
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe is pushing for a Senate inquiry into the operation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) amid complaints from motorists over higher fees.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 634, Poe sought to look into the implementation of Department Order 2018-019 by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Memorandum Circular No. 2018-2158 by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), and other related issuances.
“The intention behind the law is noble, but the fees following its implementation cannot come at a worse time in the middle of a pandemic where people are barely getting by and now have to add another item in their list of expenses,” Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, said.
The law Poe was referring to is the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which mandates the LTO to inspect and register motor vehicles.
In her resolution, the senator noted that the LTO issued a memorandum circular in 2018 authorizing PMVICs to collect an inspection fee of P1,800 from motor vehicles weighing 4,500 kilograms or less.
If the vehicle fails the test, it will be required to undergo necessary repairs and taken back to the PMVIC where the motorist is charged an additional P900 reinspection fee to obtain clearance, Poe noted.
On the other hand, motorcycles and tricycles are charged P600 for the inspection fee and P300 for the reinspection fee, if necessary, she added.
PMVICs, Poe noted in her resolution, are further authorized to collect a separate “inspection fee” for the miscellaneous transactions like motor vehicle modification, among others.
The senator said that as early as 2018, there have been complaints from motorists that the new fees would “double the registration fees that most motor vehicle owners already have to pay.”
“Isipin mo naman, pati mga naghahanap-buhay na mag-deliver at namamasada pipigaan pa natin ng pera. ‘E ‘di wala na silang naiuwi sa pamilya nila,” Poe pointed out.
(Just think about it, even those who are making a living, making deliveries and transporting commuters, are being squeezed to the last centavo. So nothing more remains for their family.)
Aside from complaints over the increase in fees, the senator added that stakeholders had also said that LTO did not conduct thorough consultations before the privatization of the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS), which seeks to ensure the road worthiness of vehicles and prevent road accidents.
Before the program was rolled out, motorists only had to pay an average of P500 for the emission testing fee.
The new inspection procedure, Poe noted, is allegedly more thorough as it uses advanced technology to check the car from the inside out, but this has also been accompanied with a number of complaints from motorists.
Another issue Poe raised is the supposed absence of interconnectivity between the IT system used by the PMVICs and the LTO, which means vehicle owners have to pay for another testing in another testing center.
The DOTr is targeting to roll out a total of 138 PMVICs nationwide, according to Poe.
The lack of transparency in the selection of the PMVICs, she also said, elicited apprehension among concerned groups that the program “might provide an avenue for corruption.”
“It’s hard to ignore the accounts from motorists who have experienced glitches in the PMVIC test results that incurred additional costs on their part for reinspection,” she said.
“The unreliability of the test results is problematic and burdensome, to say the least,” Poe added.
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