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Privatizing vehicle inspection ‘highly suspicious,’ prone to corruption — senators

/ 10:33 AM February 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senators have grown “highly suspicious” of the decision of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to privatize its vehicle inspection program, saying the move is prone to corruption.

Senator Grace Poe, who led a hearing into the implementation of the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) on Tuesday, cited figures estimated by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto that the 23 private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs) currently operating stand to earn P8 billion annually.

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On the other hand, government will only earn P100,000 from each center per annum, Poe pointed out.

“That’s where it’s highly suspicious,” she said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.

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“Sen. Recto computed about P8 billion in revenue that will go to the private sector, how much will the government get? The computation, the private sector will only pay the government P100,000 for the license to operate their centers,” Poe said.

At present, there are 138 PMVICs currently accredited and only 23 operating.

But Poe said this current number of operating PMVICs is barely enough to accommodate all vehicles that are required to register annually.

“Their (DOTr) goal was to have about 458 so they have less than 0.4 percent in operation,” she noted.

“If there are about 458 centers, considering that if they already rolled it out, the government will stand to earn about 45.8 million. That’s less than one percent [of the revenue of the PMVICs]. It does not make sense,” she added.

The senator, likewise, questioned how the DOTr picked the 23 PMVICs.

“All of a sudden, they allowed the 23 to operate with not one regulation in place when they rolled it out,” she said. “So the question begs to be asked, who are these preferred individuals?”

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During Tuesday’s hearing, senators agreed that the operations of the PMVICs should be temporarily suspended amid questions of legality and transparency.

Poe further said in the interview that she had asked transport officials to submit to the committee a list of the owners of the 23 PMVICs currently operating as well as its incorporators.

This, as she also pointed out that the DOTr only barred members of its accrediting committee from participating in the PMVICs.

“Initially, for any DOTr contract it says that any member of the DOTr, or their families, is not allowed to participate. Suspiciously, in this PMVIC agreement, they took that provision out,” Poe said.

“All they did was put that those in the accrediting committee may not participate. Meaning you can still be relative of an officer of the DOTr or the LTO or you yourself in the DOTr and the LTO, as long as you’re not in the accrediting committee, you may actually own a PMVIC,” she added.

In a separate interview over Teleradyo, Recto answered in the affirmative when asked if he sees a possible corruption in the implementation of the MVIS.

He also questioned a seeming “monopoly” in the DOTr’s inspection program, saying the agency should have encouraged competition so that fees can be lowered.

PMVICs are authorized to collect an inspection fee of P1,800 from motor vehicles weighing 4,500 kilograms or less and another P900 in case it fails the first inspection.

Motorcycles and tricycles, on the other hand, are charged a P600-inspection fee and P300-reinspection fee, if necessary.

“Bigla biglaan din itong ginawa at parang may monopolya pa dahil 138 lang. Sinong nag-isip sa kanila na 138 lang? E di ibig sabihin walang kompetisyon. Tapos mandato pa yung presyo, e dapat kung nasa pribado yan dapat marami at merong kompetisyon para bumaba ang presyo,” he said.

(This was sudden, it’s like a monopoly because there were only 138 of them participating. Who gave them the idea of accrediting only 138? Then that means there’s no competition. And then why is there a stated price? If it’s in the private sector, there should be a competition so that the fees could be lowered.)

EDV

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TAGS: Motor Vehicle Inspection System, MVIS, Nation, News, PMVIC, Senate, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senator Grace Poe
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