House panel sets inquiry into PMVIC controversy

Published February 5, 2021, 12:34 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The House of Representatives will look into numerous complaints regarding private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs) spread across the country.


The committee on transportation chaired by Samar Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento will start an inquiry on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The investigation was also prompted by Resolution No. 1518 authored by Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro Rep.  Rufus Rodriguez.

In his resolution, Rodriguez said the new PMVICs, which were to replace private emission testing centers, were supposed to check a vehicle’s compliance with standards not only on emission but on roadworthiness as well.

He said the Land Transportation Office (LTO) qualified and accredited at least 138 motor vehicle inspection facilities near its field offices throughout the country.

“However, there are already numerous reports of inconsistencies and anomalies regarding these private inspection centers,” he said.

The House leader cited some reported complaints:

A Pampanga businessman had his 2011 “well maintained and well preserved” BMW Z4 sports car with 7,000 kilometers on its odometer inspected, paid the P1,800 fee and waited for three hours only to find out that it did not pass inspection because of “weak” brakes.

The owner brought his car to the BMW dealership, whose mechanics found no defects. He returned to the same PMVIC, paid a second P800 inspection fee and his car finally passed.

A Subaru Forester owner complained that a PMVIC broke his car’s differential after the center’s personnel treated it as a front-wheel drive instead of an all-wheel drive vehicle in conducting a speedometer test. 

Apparently, the workers did not know that an all-wheel or a four-wheel drive vehicle can run into problems if its front and rear wheels spin at different speeds.

A 2017 Land Cruiser failed inspection for having an exhaust pipe that’s too loud. The legal standard is 99 decibels. 

The inspection center recorded the noise generated by the Land Cruiser at 655.2 decibels, more than three times louder than the Saturn V rocket that flew people to the moon (204 decibels) and the Krakatoa volcano explosion (202 decibels measured from three miles away.

“These complaints prove that PMVICs do not have people with enough training and knowledge, and the right and reliable equipment to do the task the LTO has assigned them, and for which service they are allowed to collect excessive fees from motor vehicle owners,” Rodriguez said.

He said it seems that some inspection centers “intentionally fail certain vehicles to be tested a second time after payment of another fee.’’

Rodriguez said the legislative council of San Fernando City in La Union has decided to suspend the operation of the LTO-accredited PMVIC in the city due to numerous complaints.

He added that council members felt that testing and retesting fees “add to the heavy burden already being experienced by everyone on account of the prevailing Covid-19 health emergency.”        

Rodriguez urged the Department of Transportation(DOTr)  and the LTO to suspend its new motor vehicle inspection program while there is a pandemic.