The rush to register vehicles after nearly three months of quarantine is taking its toll on the LTO and its accredited private emissions testing centers (PETC). As a prerequisite to registration, all vehicles must undergo emissions testing.
However, this step is already causing a bottleneck, with its limited daily quota. As a result, riders have been forced to lineup as early as midnight just to secure a slot. Rider groups have already appealed to have emission testing suspended for the mean time to allow motorcycle owners to register their vehicles on time.
Now, a congressman from Cagayan de Oro City is appealing to the Department of Transportation to suspend emission testing. Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City filed an appeal in Resolution No. 1007. It calls on the House of Representatives to express its collective sense for the suspension of the requirement.
Rodriguez said the Covid-19 pandemic “has affected and disrupted the lives of all Filipinos, including more than 11 million who own motor vehicles.”
“As a result of lockdowns and quarantines in many parts of the country, most transactions with the government were halted, such as the registration of vehicles,” he said.
With the easing of quarantines and travel restrictions, he said many vehicle owners “are now having their vehicles registered, resulting in very long lines and unusual delays in the process of registration, especially in emission testing centers.”
As an example, Rodriguez cited his own constituency, Cagayan de Oro City, where registration applicants “have to line up very early in the morning to get a number, which takes four to five hours, then they wait until their numbers are called to be given an appointment for their emission test, which is at least two weeks away.”
“It’s a lot of inconvenience on the part of motor vehicle owners, to say the least. These taxpayers deserve better service,” he stressed.
He said the long queues and delays result in violations of social distancing protocols among registrants and LTO personnel, which could eventually lead to a possible increase in Covid-19 cases.
He noted that some LTO offices have had to lock down because some workers got infected with coronavirus.
“To address this problem and to make registration easier for vehicle owners, the DoTr and the LTO should suspend the emission testing requirement until Dec. 31, 2020,” Rodriguez said.
This will also give the two agencies time “to look into numerous complaints and allegations of impropriety against these privately-owned testing centers all over the country,” he said.
The LTO, for its part, has suspended some provisions of the new doble plaka law, particularly the 5-day transfer of ownership deadline. It has been extended to 60 days. Nonetheless, some motorists believe this is still not enough time given the bottlenecks at PETCs.