Senate panel presses repeal of ‘flawed’ DOTr order on mandatory MVIS

Published February 16, 2021, 5:23 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate Public Services Committee has recommended the repeal of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) order and all other related issuances from the executive department that delegated the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) to private entities.

(Senate PRIB / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The recommendation was part of the Committee Report No. 184 released by public services committee chairperson Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday, February 16.

So far, 11 senators have signed the report, which called the DOTr’s private vehicle inspection policy “half-baked” and “flawed.”

“The Committee is of the firm belief that the growing calls to abolish the PMVIS is completely justified. The noble intent behind the implementation of the PMVIS cannot justify its continued existence. It is a deeply-flawed policy that does not address but instead, even exacerbates, the problems already tormenting Filipino motorists,” the report read.

“In the meantime, the repeal of DOTr Department Order (DO) 2018-19 and all related issuances is recommended.”

The report noted that while fees have been lowered and the inspections were made optional following President Duterte’s order, “the implementation of this flawed program must be stopped definitively pending the resolution of issues hounding it.”

Even if PMVICs have already agreed to waive the re-testing fees, “such commitment must not be left to the discretion or magnanimity of private enterprises”, it said.

“The re-testing fee is a creation of the relevant DO and MCs (memorandum circulars) and must be repealed by the same agencies which ordered it,” the committee maintained.

Further, the committee said that the privatization of the MVIS is “best left” to Congress which can amend laws to make such policy explicit in the Clean Air Act. Senators earlier pointed out that existing laws do not provide for the delegation of inspections to private testing centers.

“By going through the scrutiny of the normal legislative process, lawmakers and experts could settle once and for all the underlying principles of the PMVIS which the stakeholders have found to be objectionable, particularly whether or not the government should have its own MVIS that will cater exclusively to public utility and government-owned vehicles, how much should the required capitalization be for PMVICs, and what tests should be included in the testing and inspection process,” it said.

Aside from the legality of the MVIS privatization, the committee also cited issues on the supposed lack of consultation, transparency in accreditation, inadequate number of inspection centers in operation, glitches in the system, and the incompatibility of private motor vehicle inspection systems with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) IT and landscape of motor vehicles in the country.

“All remain unresolved without decisive action from the Department,” the report concluded.

It also noted that the “absence of clear definition of roadworthiness, coupled with identified flaws in the inspection standards, almost guarantees that there will be errors in the test results; not only that this might lead to corruption, some also believe that it intends to facilitate the phaseout of older vehicles without due process.”

Likewise, the committee “strongly recommended” to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to conduct a separate probe on the “highly anomalous transactions” surrounding the accreditation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) and officials involved.

The report said a review of their Securities and Exchange Commission found that 12 out of the 24 PMVICs currently operating “do not have enough capitalization to finance an expensive inspection center costing more than P50 million”.

 
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