Recto hits 'mutation' of car inspection scheme

Published July 21, 2021, 4:58 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Wednesday, July 21, questioned the revival of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) that was suspended by President Duterte last February.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto (Senate PRIB)

Recto called on Department of Transportation (DOTr) to explain to the public its new memorandum for the implementation of the MVIS, which he said appears to be “roused from dead.”

“It has been put into a coma upon orders of Malacañang. Now it appears that it has mutated into something else,” the Senate leader said in his statement.

“Ang pakiusap lang po natin sa ating mga kaibigan sa LTO at DOTr ay ipaliwanag ang pangangailangan nito at ipakita ang legal na batayan kung bakit binuhay nila ang ganitong programa (What we are asking from our friends in the Land Transportation Office and the DOTr is to explain the need for this and show us the legal basis of why they revived this program),” he appealed.

“Specifically, has the revival of the mothballed PMVIC scheme been given a go-signal by the Office of the President?” he asked.

Last February 11, Duterte ordered the suspension of the mandatory MVIS after legislators and motorist groups complained about the exorbitant fees reportedly charged from them for the yearly vehicle registration.

On July 5, however, the DOTr issued Memorandum Circular No. MC-SC-2021-02, which says that the LTO will only accept motor vehicle registrations from private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs) in their designated areas.

Contrary to Duterte’s order, the new MVIS scheme “seems to border on the mandatory”, Recto said.

“If a car owner will opt for an inspection done by the LTO, are the facilities of the latter adequate? Is this option available all the time, so they will not be shepherded to private testing centers?” the lawmaker asked.

“Ang ibig po bang sabihin nito, ang isang LTO district office ay may katambal na suking PMVIC at kailangan po bang mag-detour sa PMVIC bago magpa-rehistro (Does this mean that an LTO district office has a partner PMVIC that will serve as a detour before registration)?” he further raised.

The LTO, he said, “should also clearly specify the scope of the inspection, and the fees for each.” Recto warned that the policy, if mishandled by the DOTr, “may tarnish whatever legacy the present administration is trying to build in the transportation sector.” “Why contaminate a nice report card by forcefully ramming a scheme, which as presented, breeds confusion and complications?” Recto said.

“There is no debate as to the need to allow only roadworthy vehicles on our highways. Lahat tayo agree doon (We all agree on that). But to blame every road accident on poorly maintained vehicles in marketing PMVICs not only absolves the culpability of reckless drivers but also the failure of government to build safe roads,” he pointed out.

Senators previously questioned the legality of the operations of PMVICs as they noted that existing laws do not provide for the delegation of the MVIS to the private sector.

They also flagged the “highly anomalous” accreditations of the PMVICs by the LTO.

Last March 1, the Senate unanimously adopted the committee report which recommends the suspension of the privatized MVIS.