By EMMIE V. ABADILLA
The number of errant Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs) is increasing, with the number of violators for the first month of 2020 alone already close to the total number of violators for the whole year 2019, prompting the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to consider not just slapping fines but suspending operations and revoking licenses.
PETCs are authorized private facilities of the DOTr engaged in testing the level of opacity and analysis of the gaseous emission of motor vehicles in accordance with Republic Act 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act.
So far, the DOTr, through its Investigation, Security and Law Enforcement Staff (ISLES) and Franchising Review Staff (FRS) hauled in millions of pesos worth of fines from PETCs with violations ranging from having no testing probes, no testing machines, to the non-appearance of vehicles for testing or falsification of test results.
But each year, the number of violators kept on increasing.
In 2017, ISLES/FRS only collected a total of ₱90,000 in fines from three PETCs and ₱450,000 from six PETCs the following year.
However, in 2019, ISLES/FRS collected ₱10,890,000 fines from 89 PETCs nationwide from April to December.
This January 1 to January 27, 2020 alone, 86 PETCs committed violations, paying out ₱9,990,000 in penalties.
The DOTr is remitting the fines to the government’s coffers. However, the violations of the testing centers endanger not just the lives of the public but also harms the environment, DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade underscored.
“This increasing number of violators is a clear manifestation of their defiance to the law. Your accreditation as emission testing center is just a privilege given to you by the government. Do not wait for us to issue suspension orders or revocation of your permits to operate,” he warned.