Senate pro tempore, Ralph Recto took notice of the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) recent memos regarding Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs). He asked the department earlier this week for some clarification with regards to the apparent return of motor vehicle inspection centers that “border on the mandatory” for vehicle registration renewal.
The DOTr now responds to the senator's query:
Firstly, we thank the good Senator for his appreciation of the legacy accomplishments of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in the various transportation sectors. This rightfully serves as inspiration and encouragement for all of us to continue with our efforts to implement necessary changes and improvements in our transportation system.
In this desire to improve, enhance and cultivate a culture of discipline, responsibility and awareness amongst the stakeholders, we want to assure the honorable Senator Recto that we are with him in rallying our people to what is right, and not necessarily what is popular, in upholding our nation’s best interest.
In their reply, the DOTr has carefully addressed each of the senator’s queries. With regard to the legality of implementing the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS), the agency had this to say:
In the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) dated 18 March 2021, OSG said that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) have authority to ensure the roadworthiness of vehicles and consequently implement the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS).
The Administrative Code of 1987, under Sec. 3, Chap. 1 & Sec. 7(4), Chap. 2 of Book IV; R.A. 4136 [Secs. 4(d)(1) & (d)(6)]; E.O. 125 [30 Jan. 1987]; E.O. 125-A [13 April 1987] and E.O. 266 [25 July 1987], signed by then Pres. Corazon C. Aquino which have the force and effect of law under Sec. 6, Art. XVIII of the 1987 Constitution, are evidence of general grant of quasi-legislative power, or the power of subordinate legislation, and authority to administer motor vehicle inspection, in favor of the DOTr and LTO.
As to the issue of DOTr and LTO authorizing private entities to conduct inspection of motor vehicles, the Administrative Code of 1987 and E.O. 125-A allows DOTr to call on any corporation or organization, whether public or private, to participate and assist in the implementation of transportation programs.
OSG then clarified that the DOTr is not delegating an already delegated authority to the private sector. Rather DOTr and LTO are seeking the assistance of the private sector in the implementation of the MVIS, and that the government remains responsible for roadworthiness testing. According to OSG, the MVIS is only outsourced, operated under a private sector participation agreement, but the government still has direct control and supervision of the roadworthiness testing and motor vehicle registration.
In addition, the agency’s explained that the establishment of Geographical Areas of Responsibility (GAOR) hopes to prevent crowding and long queues at PMVICs.
In so far as the good Senator’s seeking justification that implementing the PMVIC system now “will not result in long lines, longer processing time, and longer travel time to faraway PMVIC sites,” we have fully addressed this with the issuance of DOTr Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-02 or the Implementation of Geographical Area of Responsibility (GAOR) for the renewal of registration for light vehicles and motorcycles, dated July 5, 2021.
The said MC outlines how the LTO will establish the GAOR for every authorized PMVIC for renewal of registration to define areas covered by each facility. This is precisely to prevent crowding and long queues at a particular center since the PMVICs will cater to clients in their respective areas. The GAORs are to be assigned to allow the PMVIC to accommodate clients within its capacity, taking into consideration the health and sanitation protocols, and without causing traffic congestion.
It clarifies that PMVIC inspection is not required for all at the moment.
However, motor vehicle owners in areas not under the GAOR may still choose to have their vehicles undergo emission testing at a PETC, and roadworthiness inspection at an LTO office. Thus, there is no need for a detour if there is no PMVIC in the GAOR. Owners may go directly to the LTO for the roadworthiness test after securing an emission testing certificate.
Further, if we look at the premise of the issue, the definitive solution is increasing the number of PMVICs that should open nationwide, in order to for all areas to be covered.
The DOTr also adds that some district offices have overlapping areas of responsibility.
On the matter of "suking PMVIC", LTO Offices with overlapping PMVIC GAORs may accept the result of any PMVIC within their area of coverage.
With regard to the scope of inspection, the PMVIC facility will conduct the full roadworthiness test for the vehicle, including emission test. The basis of renewal of registration shall be the roadworthiness of the vehicle as evidenced in the test results from any PMVIC and PETC, and visual inspection. The other minor test results are supplementary data for consideration.
Finally, the DOTr explains that PMVICs are not their only solution for improving road safety.
With these, we wish to gently re-direct the misimpression of the honorable Senator that we are marketing the PMVICs as the be-all, end-all solution to minimizing road accidents. Though roadworthiness is not the cure-all for road crashes, it is one of the pillars of road safety. Thus, we remain firm in our commitment to address the roadworthiness requisite prior to renewal of vehicle registration. And, currently, PMVICs are the most equipped facilities which can accurately, efficiently and reliably measure this vital requirement of the law.
We believe that outside of our committee’s mandate, the DOTr and its attached agencies have also been pursuing other road transport initiatives such as the PUV modernization program, LTO demerit system, service contracting, and information and education campaign for road safety, defensive driving, and proper use of roads, in order to mitigate the rise in vehicular accidents, and fully uphold road and public safety, through building adequate transport infrastructure and enhancing driver's competence.
If you want to see the entire letter to the Senator, you can find it HERE.
Do you find the DOTr’s answers satisfactory? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.