Press Release
February 9, 2021

Senate Committee on Public Services
Feb. 9, 2021

Road safety is the goal of everyone. This hearing was called in the spirit of working closely with the implementing agencies which undoubtedly have noble intentions no matter how lost the details may be in translation.

Ang unang parte po ng hearing natin ay tatalakay sa mga isyu ng Motor Vehicle Inspection System o MVIS. While the MVIS is already long overdue, I see the need to mention this early the issues made known to this committee:

a. First, 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. Masyadong mahal ang mga bagong sinisingil, hindi ba puwedeng time-out muna habang nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya?

b. Second, the instruments used by the designated service providers to measure the motorists' compliance with the MVIS do not seem to be well-calibrated at all. Nakatanggap tayo ng mga reklamo mula sa mga motorista na bumagsak sila sa inspeksyon kahit na kakatapos lamang nila magpa-maintenance sa casa.

c. Third, the policy on reinspection fees gives a sense that the MVIS is so designed to incentivize service providers to force motorists to fail the inspection. Now this is also problematic because the system does not provide a penalty for the service providers should it be proven that their equipment or personnel are not up to par with the LTO standards.

d. Fourth, the costs are prohibitive for a still imperfect system. Mula sa P500 noon na emission testing fee, naging P1,500 o triple ang iminahal ngayon ng inspection fee. Dagdag pa ito sa mismong registration fee na maaaring umabot ng higit pa sa P3,000. Para sa isang sistema na napakarami pang problema, masasabi ba nating makatwiran ang mga bayaring ito? At sino ba ang nagbigay ng kung ano ba ang dapat na presyo para sa testing? Ano ang basehan ninyo dito?

e. Fifth, many taxpayers find it truly difficult to accept that DOTr and LTO opted to privatize the MVIC allegedly due to shortage of funds. It had access to the MVUC funds for decades before it was abolished. Instead of investing in private sourcing, it prioritized plate-making. Kahit saang anggulo natin tingnan, such prioritization was misplaced. Buti sana kung maayos ding naipatupad ang pagbibigay ng plaka sa mga sasakyan. Ang ending--marami na ngang sasakyan ang walang plaka, wala pa tayong mga pasilidad na magamit upang mainspekyon ng libre ang mga sasakyan. Saan napunta ang P22.2 billion na MVUC funds?

f. Lastly, many complained that no stakeholder consultation was conducted before the policy was rolled out to the public. Wika nga ng VACC, "'Pag walang konsultasyon, may korapsyon." The noted absence of usual procurement procedures in the selection of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers is glaring. Safer roads mean no shortcuts. The public must be consulted and informed every step of the way. Dapat ay kabahagi ang mga motorista sa paghulma ng ganito kalaking polisiya.

For the record, I am not painting LTO as the bad guy here. There's something praiseworthy in ensuring that only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads. What we are looking into here is the sudden roll-out of a new vehicle registration system that is undisputedly burdensome to our motorists. A half-baked policy is a bad policy and this committee won't stand for it..

The second part of this hearing will be spent tackling the implementation of the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.

Implementation may be deferred for now but we still have to know how the implementing agencies will prepare the public for this. We have to consider that the costs alone will require parents to spend an amount ranging from P3,000 to P30,000.

The last part of this hearing will focus on the policy of mandatory face masks even inside private vehicles.

We commend the efforts that help reduce the transmission of the virus. Indeed, it takes the discipline of the entire nation to survive this. But an abundance of caution might be unnecessarily inconvenient to the public, more so if we don't know the medical basis for it...

This is a venue for government to explain to the public why face masks inside their own vehicles while with their own household is necessary to curb COVID-19.

In our discussion of all these issues today, we must keep in mind that while we want the problems in land transport fixed, we should never go about it experimentally. Not during the pandemic, not ever. Kung may dapat mag-adjust dito, hindi ang mga motorista. When it comes to new far-reaching policies, those who conceive them must obey the oldest rule on the road: Stop. Look. Listen...

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