PMVIC owners defend ‘reasonable’ vehicle inspection fees

Published February 4, 2021, 10:02 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Amid criticisms on “exorbitant” vehicle inspection fees, operators of private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs) defended on Thursday, Feb. 4, that their existing testing rates are “reasonable.”

Iñigo Larrazabal, president of the Vehicle Inspection Center Operators Association of the Philippines (VICOAP), explained that the fees being charged for motorists cover a 70-point vehicle roadworthiness check which is more comprehensive than the old emission testing.

Memorandum Circular 2018- 2518 of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) allows PMVICs to charge an inspection fee of P1,800 from motor vehicles weighing 4,500 kilograms or less, while P600 for motorcycles and tricycles.

A reinspection fee of P900 will also be collected if the vehicle fails the inspection, while P300 for tricycles and motorcycles.

“If you do the math, you are paying P4 a day for those who have light vehicles, and P1.80 a day for those who have motorcycles,” Larrazabal said during a virtual briefing on Thursday, adding that the rates are “a bargain to protect our families.”

“The increase in testing fees reflects the increased work we have to do to ensure that only the safest of vehicles are allowed on the roads. We cannot put a price on human lives,” he emphasized.

Larrazabal also maintained that their rates are reasonable and would ensure the sustainability of the PMVICs to make sure that all vehicles are roadworthy.

These costs were also discussed in a public consultation held in June last year by various government agencies including the Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Office, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Larrazabal argued that PMVICs are conducting a more comprehensive test to check the roadworthiness of a vehicle from seatbelts, brakes, to headlights — a far cry from Private Emission Testing Centers which only check and assess the quality of smoke belching out of the vehicle. 

The association president also pointed out that the PMVIC test reduces the opportunities for corruption which is widely believed by the public to be rampant in the old, outmoded system of vehicle testing. 

“We are constantly gathering data across the entire inspection process — data which can reveal any statistical anomalies that would point to corruption. And because some parts of the process are automated, we know that they cannot be tampered with,” Larrazabal said.

“In other cases, we can review the data in vulnerable areas to identify any patterns of abuse so we can then act accordingly,” he added.

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, Senator Grace Poe filed a Senate resolution to look into the operations of PMVICs, as well as the testing fees that they have been collecting from motorists.

Poe said the imposition of these fees “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.”