The strong opposition of motorists against the costly vehicle inspection fees prompted some senators to seek an overall suspension of the system.
The Land Transportation Office has a standing policy that requires testing the roadworthiness of private motor vehicles first at Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (MVIC) across the country before registration renewal.
Some of these facilities are privately owned and are named as Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs).
As of March 13, 2019, there are 138 identified sites for MVIC and of these, 115 are awarded to private entities.
‘Anti-poor’ inspection system?
The fees charged from these PMVICs, however, were perceived too exorbitant for motorists who have yet to recover from the severe impact of the past lockdowns and the still ongoing pandemic.
“Please naman po LTO mag-isip naman sana kayo kung paano mag implement ng batas na hindi gagastos ang mga pobre na Pinoy (angry emoji),” one user said.
“Dahil sa privatized motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVIC) na proyekto nyo ay nagdudusa ngayon sa napakamahal na pagpaparehistro ng sasakyan ang taongbayan,” another wrote.
Others alleged that the LTO is just trying to exploit money from the general public.
“Ikalat natin na patigilin muna yan, mahirap ang buhay ngayon, isang raket talaga yan. Implement during pandemic? Wala nga trabaho karamihan dahil marami din nagsara mga kumpanya. Doble ang gagastusin pag nag rehistro ka ng sasakyan. Pag di pa pumasa sasakyan mo, papaayos mo muna. Dagdag gastos na naman,” a Facebook user commented.
“In short, kailangan may kumita sa inspection na yan. Anong ginagawa ng mga taga LTO at hindi sila mismo gumawa niyan ng libre bilang pinapasahod naman sila ng gobyerno, na galing sa taxes ng taong bayan?” another user wrote.
Last January 25, The STAR reported that private vehicle owners conducted a motorcade at the LTO in San Fernando, Pampanga to protest against the operation of PMVIC. They also cited the “alleged collection of exorbitant fees, flawed vehicle inspection procedures, implementation without public consultation, and lack of transparency.”
The Department of Transportation previously said the inspection costs per vehicle type are as follows:
- Motor Vehicle with Gross Vehicle Weight =< 4500 kilograms
* Inspection Fee: P1,500.00 – P1,800.00
* Re-inspection Fee: P750.00
* Inspection Fee: P600.00
* Re-inspection Fee: P300.00
* Inspection Fee: P300.00
* Re-inspection Fee: P150.00
The transport agency shared an infographic detailing the differences between the old and new vehicle inspection tests.
It also clarified that all vehicles, both for public and private use, have to undergo such process.
“Lahat ng sasakyan, pribado o pampubliko man, ay kailangang dumaan sa inspection bago ma-rehistro ayon sa mga batas,” DOTr said.
Highlights of Senate inquiry
During the Senate inquiry last Tuesday, senators grilled LTO chief Edgar Galvante and some representatives of the DOTr over the hefty fees and the privatization of the MVICs.
Galvante cited lack of funds as the reason for privatization of the vehicle testing centers and existing facilities have already been subjected to wear and tear.
He also said that they have previously sought financial aid from the Senate and the now-defunct Road Board.
Sen. Ralph Recto, however, could not remember that the agency approached them for help.
He also joined the calls of Sen. Grace Poe to suspend the implementation of the policy in the meantime.
“I think it is clear that I think we should suspend the implementation of this program until we find a better way forward.…Here we are, imposing additional burden to our motoring public – particularly to our middle class who are overburdened already,” Recto said.
Poe, who heads the Senate committee on Public Services, also sought for a review of the guidelines in vehicle inspection to ensure that they comply with reasonable standards for developing countries such as the Philippines.