INTENTIONAL “failing” of inspection by Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) is impossible, said an association of vehicle inspection center operators in a statement Monday, March 20, 2023.

Vehicle Inspection Center Operators Association of the Philippines (Vicoap), a group for PMVICs in the Philippines, issued the statement in reaction to the statement of Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO 7) Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec that PMVICs are intentionally failing inspections to extort money.

Caindec said on March 16 that he had received a complaint on the alleged scheme after the LTO started implementing the online renewal for registrations in some offices in the country.

But Vicoap said the nature of the inspection and rendering of the results simply do not allow the “intentional failing” of inspections.

“Vicoap would wish to clarify to LTO Region VII that according to our operating guidelines, PMVICs merely conduct the inspection of vehicles. The data gathered is then automatically uploaded to the LTO’s database where the final result is then either tagged as ‘PASS’ or ‘FAIL’ by the LTO, finally resulting in a printed report given to the customer,” the group said Monday.

Transitional period

It added that based on Department of Transportation (DOTr) Memorandum Circular-SC-2021-01 issued on March 2, 2021, the PMVIC program is still currently in a transitional period, wherein vehicles need to only pass the visual inspection and emission test in order for them to be registered.

“The remaining 70 plus tests, including the brake test, however, are still conducted but only for recommendatory purposes,” it said.

The recommendatory nature allows “vehicle owners during the transition to familiarize themselves with the system and for additional data gathering of LTO and DOTr to improve regulations on road worthiness.”

“Vicoap more importantly believes that the conduct of these recommendatory tests will also inform the vehicle owner of any repairs or adjustments needed in the interest of roadworthiness,” it said.

It also said the visual inspection and emission tests conducted are monitored and validated through photos and high resolution videos taken from strategically positioned cameras to record the entire process.

“These are archived at the LTO central office for future reference,” said Vicoap.

No fee for re-test

The group also said PMVICs do not charge for re-test should any of the inspections fail.

“This directive has been in effect since Dec. 3, 2021 with the issuance of DOTR MC 2021-2302 and Vicoap members have always been in full compliance.”

“Vicoap maintains that we have always operated with transparency and we hold all our member centers to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism,” it added.

The group also assured the public that none of its member centers are engaged in the selling of insurance or so-called packages, “much less preclude customers from inspections if these are not availed of.”

Caindec, in a Facebook post on Feb. 22, said he heard that some PMVICs threaten vehicle owners that they will fail the inspection if they do not get the “package,” which includes registration.

He said he ordered an investigation on the complaints so the LTO 7 can file the necessary legal actions against the PMVICs.

On Monday, March 20, Caindec posted on his Facebook account a photo showing a PMVIC offering “packages” for motorcycle and light vehicle renewal.

The “package,” as shown in the photo, starts at P1,162 for motorcycle renewal and P3,350 for light vehicle renewal for one-day processing.

Caindec posted the photo with a caption: “When pictures speak a thousand words. Deny lang gihapon (You continue denying it)?”

Vicoap said it welcomes any investigation by the regional and central offices of LTO on the matter.

“We are prepared to showcase the integrity of our operation. We also invite Region 7 LTO Director Victor Caindec to a dialogue, with the hope that he may be familiarized with the policies of PMVIC inspection,” said the group.