Press Release
February 24, 2021


I put forward the report of the committee on public services which on Feb. 09, 2021, conducted a hearing on the operation of Private Motor Vehicles Inspection Centers or PMVICs.

Back in 2018, the DOTr decreed that the physical inspection of vehicles, which was previously conducted by the Land Transportation Office, along with an additional battery of tests, 73 in total, shall now be conducted by Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers which it will accredit outside the usual modes of procurement.

As mentioned in the report, the main objective of the committee hearing was to shed light on the issues currently hounding the operation of PMVICs. Nang matapos ang hearing, naging mas malinaw na hindi lamang pala iilan ang problemang kinakaharap dito. Kaya ang naging resoluyon ng komite—ang polisiya mismo ang may problema.

It is not lost to the committee that the Motor Vehicle Inspection System was probably done with good intentions, that is, towards the goal of ensuring that vehicles in the Philippines are roadworthy.

These evils, however, will not be solved simply through privatization that unnecessarily adds burden on the public under suspicious circumstances.

The committee found several glaring and serious issues. Allow me to give you a brief rundown:

a. First, as raised during the hearing, the issuances of DOTr lack an official definition of roadworthiness which, when coupled with the lack of transparency in the inspection standards, guarantees that there will be errors in the test results. Ni hindi natin alam kung ano ba talaga ang sinusukat ng mga makinaryang ito.

b. There was also a lack of transparency in the accreditation of PMVICs as evidenced by livestreams of the proceedings submitted to the committee where 16 PMVICs were not even mentioned or shown. Nakakabahala rin na ang mismong listahan ng mga accredited PMVICs ay hindi inilathala sa publiko hanggang nagpatawag ng pagdinig ang komite.

c. To make matters worse, there was no evidence that consultations were conducted. According to LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, he directed his regional directors to conduct a consultation and invite the public. However, it is not clear how many consultations were conducted and what the outcome of these consultations were as the LTO failed to submit the minutes of these consultations despite request. Hindi malinaw kung pumayag nga ba ang mga motorista na 300 percent increase ng testing fees.

d. Local executives also lamented that they were not consulted prior to the operation of PMVICs in their area. Hence, the LGUs failed to conduct their inspection first. This is the experience of the city of San Fernando, La Union and the province of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.

e. There was also a failure to comply with documentary and legal requirements. Nang sinuri ng komite ang mga papeles ng mga authorized PMVICs, lumalabas na kalahati o 12 out of 24 sa mga PMVIC ay walang sapat na capitalization upang makapagpatayo ng isang inspection center na kadalasan ay nagkakahalaga diumano ng P50 milyon. Meanwhile, eight others were registered as sole proprietorships with the DTI which contained no information as to their financial standing. The DOTr failed to submit supporting documents that will show the accredited PMVICs compliance with the documentary and legal requirements despite our request.

f. 24 nga lang ang PMVIC ngayon. The number of PMVICs currently in operation is grossly insufficient. There are a total of 458 target PMVIC sites, 347 of which are for regular vehicles while 111 are for heavy-duty vehicles. Of the target 458, only 24 PMVICs are in operation and all of those are for light vehicles and motorcycles and tricycles only. To date, there is no PMVIC servicing heavy-duty vehicles-the ones more prone to mechanical issues that cause large-scale road accidents. Kulang na kulang ang mga PMVIC sa kasalukuyan kaya hindi nito matugunan ang demand.

g. The system created by the hasty rollout of PMVICs is in danger of violating the equal protection clause by mandating an undue requirement on motorists residing in locations where a PMVIC is present while such obligation is absent on those living in sites where a PMVIC is not yet set up.

h. The way the system is being run is also seemingly incompatible with the landscape of motor vehicles in the country. The issuances are not clear if modifications are allowed or only original parts can pass the system.

i. There are also unknown standards depending on brand of equipment. It is thus unfortunate that the DOTr denied knowledge of a list of machines and technical specifications acceptable to its Authorizing Committee. How did the DOTr evaluate the machines that will inspect the vehicles if they do not even have tech specs? Iba-iba ang makinarya, kaya naman iba-iba rin ang nagiging resulta, walang standard.

j. It has unresolved system glitches which cannot be explained absent transparency in the technical specifications of the equipment allowed by the Authorization Committee. Convincing the public of the value of the new MVIS and encouraging them to trust the results paid for with good money would need more than empty assurances that the system is good.

k. Further, the intent to adopt different minimum standards depending on the type of vehicle being examined is evident from the pronouncement of Assistant Secretary Lopez, the head of the Authorizing Committee, who said that they rolled out the PMVICs to the private vehicles first to adjust and possibly reduce the standards to a minimum for PUJs. Para daw mas maging madali sa mga public utility jeeps.

l. There are some machines which are incompatible with the current IT system of LTO. Bakit pinayagan ang mga makina na hindi naman pala kayang magpadala ng resulta sa LTO database? The excuse that an application programming interface, API, can fix this incompatibility only begs the question since such a solution will entail substantial extra costs that makes incompatible systems expensive. This reeks of either gross oversight or suspicious policymaking on the part of the Authorization Committee. Tandaan po natin na ang liit-liit ng babayaran ng mga private centers na ito sa gobyerno, P100,000 lang a year. And if I'm not mistaken, Senator Recto mentioned that they will stand to earn between P6 to P8 billion a year.

m. All these issues happened because there was a failure to utilize the MVUC funds for the construction of the government's own inspection centers. If ensuring roadworthiness is really the priority, the government should have made it happen years ago when it had access to the Motor Vehicle Users' Charge (MVUC) funds long before the disposition of MVUC collections was amended in 2019.

n. According to LTO's own data submitted to this committee, there is a total of P14.7 billion deposited MVUC collection between 2001 to January 2020 that should have been earmarked for the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund.

o. However, according to DOTr's own data, there is still a total of P11.1 billion unreleased MVUC fund as of June 2019. Whether due to poor planning or failure of bidding, the DOTr missed its chance to utilize the MVUC funds for the construction of public MVICs which could have shouldered the burden of roadworthiness inspections for the public.

p. Taken together, these issues make it unacceptable for the public to accept a new system which shifted a considerable economic burden on them.

It is in view of these issues that this committee recommends the following:

a. One, the official repeal of DOTr DO 2018-019 which ordered the privatization of the MVIS and all its related issuances.

While the PMVICs seem to have agreed to lower the fees and waive the re-testing fees for a year, such commitment must not be left to the discretion or magnanimity of private enterprises. The fees are a creation of the relevant DO and MCs and must be repealed by the same agencies which ordered it.

Despite the order of the President, the DOTr and LTO have not yet come out with issuances formalizing the lowered fees and making the MVIC process optional. Maaaring ibinababa na pansamantala ang para sa pampribadong sasakyan. Note, however, that there is no proportionate lowering of rates for the inspection of motorcycles and PUJs. There will be no definitive relief as long as the original issuances are not repealed pending resolution of the issues hounding the system. Kung biglang hindi na natin ito pinapansin baka bigla na naman nila itataas ang kanilang mga singil.

b. Second, Congress must be allowed room to determine the propriety of allowing the privatization of MVIS. The implementation of a system so comprehensive as to have far-reaching effects to all motorists in the country is best left to the jurisdiction of the legislature the same way that the Clean Air Act had to make the delegation to Private Emission Testing Centers clear and express in the language of the law.

c. Lastly, to recommend to the Senate Blue Ribbon the investigation of the highly anomalous transactions surrounding the accreditation of PMVICs and the officials involved therein. The questionable issuances seem to have created a very favorable environment for an oligopoly where only very few players can enter and succeed. The inexplicable dark moments during the evaluation process and lack of transparency in the eventual accreditation of winning service providers bear badges of fraud which should be investigated further by the appropriate Committee.

Mr. President, ngayon kapag ikaw ay opisyal ng DOTr o empleyado, pwede kang magmay-ari ng Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center dahil tinanggal nila doon sa requirement na dapat kapag ikaw ay related sa isang opisyal doon ay hindi ka pwede sumama. Ngayon, ang hindi lang pwede sumama ay ang mga nasa Accreditation Committee. So, kaduda-duda na talaga.

Fellow senators, a support to this committee report is a support to the motorists. I hope we can help ease their burden by calling for the immediate end to the oppressive, anomalous and extraordinarily flawed Privatization of the Motor Vehicle Inspection System.

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