Following reports that some LTO district offices are still mandating vehicle owners to undergo vehicle inspection only at authorized Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs), LTO chief, Edgar Galvante, has reiterated that such testing remains optional.

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. (PMVIC operations are not suspended. The only thing that was suspended is the mandatory vehicle inspection at PMVICs and the implementation of GAORs. What it means is that, people are free to choose whether to undergo vehicle testing at PMVICs or PETCs even if there is an operational PMVIC in their area prior to registration.),” said Asec. Galvante.

Back in August, Transport secretary, Arthur Tugade, issued an instruction directing all regional offices of the LTO to suspend the mandatory inspection and testing of vehicles at PMVICs.

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.

Meanwhile, 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 explains that the new IT system rolled out by the LTO called the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) not only intends to optimize the use of the MVIRS, but also aims to gather sufficient baseline data to assess the status of motor vehicles in the country in terms of roadworthiness and safety.

“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. 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 rollout 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 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% or for 1,800 daily transactions. With the new IT system, the LTO aims to increase this to just 20% or to 7,000 transactions a day. As such, the LTO says, 80% of vehicle registration renewals are not affected and are still being tested at PETCs.

With regard to the scope of the inspection, PMVIC facilities conduct full roadworthiness test for the vehicle, including emission tests, 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 the roadworthiness of vehicles. Lives will be saved if all vehicles traveling the roads are truly roadworthy,” Asec. Galvante said.

Meanwhile, Galvante said the LTO is still gathering data to support an evaluation of the GAORs implementation that was ordered suspended by secretary Tugade.