Like cars in need of repair, the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) defective policies need fixing, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said on Tuesday.
Recto said the uproar which greeted LTO’s new round of fees and fines stemmed from the “stack of exactions” which the motoring public has been made to bear amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“May excise tax ang sasakyan, may MVUC sa rehistro, dalawang buwis sa gasolina, may medical exam sa pagkuha ng lisensya (There’s an excise tax on vehicles, there’s the motor vehicle user’s charge, two taxes on gasoline, need for a medical exam for those getting a license)…” Recto said.
“May bayad sa driving school, ngayon may upuan na sa bata, may bayad sa toll, at maraming bagong bawal na hindi alam ng driver, sa isang sistema na matindi ang traffic (there’s driving school fees, now we’re supposed to have child car seats, additional toll fees, and a lot of prohibited actions unknown to the driver in a system that bears with heavy traffic),” he enumerated.
“LTO defective policies should be recalled like defective cars, to give us all time to fix them,” the senator added.
He further said the slew of LTO fees “slaps taxes on the pandemic-hit people without basis in law nor approval from agencies and creates confusion.” This could have been avoided, he said, had the agency not been reckless in rushing to implement them.
Recto said the motoring agency’s pile up of mistakes now looks like a “multiple car collision.”
Both Recto and Sen. Grace Poe, who headed the Senate Public Services committee hearing on the issues hounding the LTO and the transportation sector, reiterated their call for the LTO and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to suspend the implementation of the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) amid unresolved issues and complaints that have left motorists grossly disadvantaged at this time.
“The timing of its implementation could not have been worse. We are still in the middle of a pandemic with no definite end in sight,” Poe pointed out.
“Hindi ba pwedeng time out muna habang nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya (Can’t we call for a time-out while we are still in the middle of a pandemic?),” she said.
Poe said the costs being asked by Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) are prohibitive for a still imperfect system.
She also scored the lack of public consultation in transitioning to the PMVIC from emission testing.
“The public must be consulted and informed every step of the way. Dapat kabahagi ang mga motorist sa paghulma ng ganitong kalaking polisiya (Motorists should be part in the drafting of policies that are significant as this),” Poe stressed.