Press Release
August 24, 2021

Senators denounce revival of PMVICs

The Senate on Tuesday ratified a resolution denouncing the revival of the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) order which requires the mandatory testing of motor vehicles by private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs).

A resolution filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Grace Poe, "strongly" condemned the revival of the DOTr's Department Order No. 2018-019 "in blatant disregard of the recommendations outlined in Committee Report No. 184, as adopted by the Senate, and in violation of President Duterte's directive to make the system non-mandatory for motorists in the process of car registration."

The DOTr immediately ordered the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to temporarily hold the implementation of the memorandum.

The Senate Committee on Public Services, chaired by Poe, has recommended the repeal of the department order and all accompanying issuances delegating the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) to private operators.

Committee Report No. 184, which was adopted by the Senate on March 1, 2021, cited the need for such to go through the normal legislative process inherent in the power of Congress.

Earlier, at the height of the investigation, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the inspection of vehicles by PMVICs shall no longer be a mandatory requirement for the renewal of the registration of motor vehicles.

However, on July 5, 2021, the DOTr issued Memorandum Circular No.-SC-2021-02, or the implementation of Geographical Area of Responsibility (GAOR) for the inspection of vehicles as a requirement for the renewal of vehicle registration, "thus cutting short the reprieve granted to the motorists and members of transport groups," the resolution stated.

MC-SC-2021-02 reinstates the testing by PMVICs "as a requirement for the registration of motorcycles and light vehicles in areas within the GAOR of a PMVIC by providing for the following: (1) In areas where the LTO district offices (DOs) and/or extension offices (EOs) are within the GAOR of a PMVIC, the inspection shall be conducted by the PMVIC; (2) The DOs and EOs may only accept motor vehicle inspection reports (MVIRs) from the PMVICs within their GAOR for processing of the renewal of registration of light vehicles and motorcycles; (3) DOs and EOs within the GAOR of a PMVIC shall only accept emission test results from PETCs for heavy vehicles; and (4) Only the second and third provisions of DoTr MC-SC-2021-01 shall continue to be in full force and effect."

The resolution stated that this issuance "runs counter to the recommendations of the Committee Report adopted by the Senate and the previous declaration of the Office of the President."

Poe, in a privilege speech, urged the DOTr "to listen to the people on the ground" as she presented video clips showing the long lines in a PMVIC in Pangasinan and people protesting against the implementation of the policy.

She noted that the long lines, the lack of social distancing and the added expenses in this time of a pandemic were some of the problems motorists have to face due the implementation of the order.

"Mr. President, I hope our colleagues in the government would be more sensitive in this time when many of our people are having difficulties," Poe said in Filipino.

Drilon, for his part, recommended the adoption of a resolution.

"May I so move that this particular practice of inspection being conducted continuously by the LTO (Land Transportation Office) despite the sentiment of the Senate and the instructions of the President be condemned in the strongest possible terms," Drilon said.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go urged Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade to explain why the DOTr has implemented the department order despite a Senate recommendation to repeal the order and an instruction from the President to halt its implementation.

"The bottom line here is we are in the midst of a pandemic. The situation is different now. Let us not make it hard for our countrymen," Go said.

He said motorists had to travel as far as 150 kilometers to have their vehicles tested since it is a requirement before a car registration could be renewed.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said the department order should not be implemented since the issues raised during the hearing, such as the cost of testing, access to test centers and the selection process of PMVIC concessionaires, were not addressed by the LTO.

Interpellating Poe, Sen. Richard Gordon, pointed out that the legal bases for issuing DO 2018-019 (were) the Clean Air Act and the need to ensure the road worthiness of a vehicle. However, Gordon observed that the DOTR was playing favorites when it accredited (a) few testing centers, prompting the people to queue in long lines while others had to travel long distance to get their vehicles tested.

"That is really oppressive for the people. The DOTr failed to live to its purpose. It appears that what the department was doing is not in pursuit of equal opportunities but opportunities for the few," Gordon said.

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