LTO told to suspend mandatory PMVIC testing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday ordered the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend the implementation of the controversial mandatory vehicle testing by Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs).

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade gave the order amid several issues raised by transport groups, motorists, and lawmakers regarding the operation of PMVICs.

In a ratified resolution, senators slammed what they described as the "ill-timing" of the program, high cost of inspection, and unreliability of test results.

They also questioned the reported absence of stakeholder consultation, lack of transparency in the selection process of the inspection centers, inadequate number of operational facilities, and "the overall incompatibility of PMVICs with LTO's own IT system and the landscape of motor vehicles in the country."

Until the issues surrounding the system are resolved, Tugade directed the LTO to maintain the previous registration process.

This means motorists can still choose between PMVICs and Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs) for the required vehicle inspection.

Tugade also asked the LTO to review its Memorandum Circular No. MC-SC-2021-02, which is the basis for the mandatory PMVIC testing.

In a statement, Senator Grace Poe welcomed the DOTr's move, but added that the department should still deal with the "flaws" the Senate pointed out in its resolution.

"Hindi pwedeng basta itago na lang sa ilalim ng basahan ang dumi at kalat ng programang ito sa simula pa lang [They can't just simply sweep these flaws under the rug]," she said.

Meanwhile, the agency said it has listened to the inputs of various stakeholders, but maintained the new policy is "very important" to ensure roadworthiness of vehicles.

It said the scope of inspection by PMVICs is wider compared to PETCs and will help with road safety.

On the issue of additional fees, the DOTr said it was able to convince PMVICs to lower their inspection rate from ₱1,500 to ₱600 for light vehicles, and ₱500 for motorcycles, "which is similar to rates collected by a PETC."

It added that reinspection or retest fees were likewise waived.