THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) has clarified that the mandatory inspection of motor vehicles at private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs) is still suspended.
The agency said Department of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade earlier suspended the new vehicle inspection system, LTO chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said.
Galvante also clarified that PMVICs have not been ordered to stop their operations and that motor vehicle owners still have the option to have their vehicles tested for roadworthiness and compliance with the Clean Air Act either at a PMVIC or at a private emission testing center (PETC) with the required LTO visual inspection.
“Hindi naman na-suspend ang operation ng PMVICs. They can still operate. Ang na-suspend lamang ay iyong mandatory inspection sa PMVICs, at implementation ng GAORs. Ibig sabihin, sa mga lugar kung saan may mga PMVIC, malaya pa ring makapamimili ang tao kung sa PMVIC o PETC magpapa-inspect ng sasakyan bago magpa-rehistro,” said Galvante.
The LTO chief made the clarification in response to a statement released on Wednesday by Senator Grace Poe, saying that her office had received information that some PMVICs in some provinces have resumed mandatory motor vehicle inspections despite the DOTr’s standing suspension order.
Tugade issued an instruction in August directing all regional offices of the LTO to suspend the mandatory inspection and testing of vehicles at PMVICs, according to the LTO.
Tugade also ordered the suspension of mandatory vehicle testing within geographic areas of responsibility (GAORs).
The suspension of the mandatory vehicle testing at PMVICs and the suspension of the GAORs pave the way for a thorough review of the policy, the DOTr said.
Galvante said vehicle owners might have misinterpreted the LTO’s rollout of a new information technology (IT) system linking PMVICs with LTO offices with the aim of optimizing the agency’s Motor Vehicle Inspection and Registration System (MVIRS), as a return of the mandatory vehicle inspections at the PMVICs.
Galvante explained that the new IT system rolled out by the LTO called the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) intends to optimize the use of the MVIRS.
It also aims to gather sufficient baseline data to assess the status of motor vehicles in the country in terms of roadworthiness and safety, he said.
“In the inspection and registration of motor vehicles in areas where there is a complete roll-out of the LTMS MVIRS, results from PMVICs will be utilized," Galvante said.
"The results gathered from the PMVICs shall be used as a baseline data to ensure that the system will be able to ensure road worthiness of vehicles plying our roads, thereby improving the road safety standards of the Philippines,” said Galvante in his memorandum to LTO regional directors dated October 6, 2021.
Galvante added that in areas where LTO offices are without LTMS or in areas where there is LTMS presence but no existing PMVICs, results of emission testing done by PETCs will be accepted for registration by the LTO office, subject to their visual inspection of the vehicle.
“The new memorandum issued by LTO is intended to roll out the Motor Vehicle Inspection and Registration System, which is one of the six core modules of the LTMS. It is not for the mandatory GAOR implementation, but a rollout of the LTMS MVIRS. Even with the current memo, PETC results will still be accepted and will be uploaded in the LTO’s record system,” said Galvante.
According to the LTO, on the average, 35,000 vehicle registration renewals are done in a day. Before the current implementation of the new IT system, data from PMVICs only account for 5.0 percent or for 1,800 daily transactions.
With the new IT system, the LTO aims to increase this to just 20 percent or to 7,000 transactions a day.
The agency stated that 80 percent of vehicle registration renewals are not affected and are still being tested at PETCs.
In regard to the scope of inspection, the LTO claimed that PMVIC facilities conduct full roadworthiness tests for the vehicle, including emission test, as opposed to PETCs, which conduct only emission testing.
To address issues concerning the cost of inspection, PMVIC owners heeded the call of DOTr and LTO for them to
charge the same amount of testing/inspection fee with that of PETCs.
Reinspection or retest fees were also waived.
“Under the leadership and guidance of Secretary Art Tugade, transport agencies have been pursuing road transport improvement initiatives to mitigate the rise in vehicular accidents, and fully uphold road safety. The PMVIC program is just one of the basket of solutions to address roadworthiness of vehicles. Lives will be saved if all vehicles travelling the roads are truly roadworthy,” Galvante said.
He added that the LTO is still gathering data to support an evaluation of the GAORs implementation that was ordered suspended by Tugade.