Lawmaker suspicious of renewed PMVIC requirement

On July 5, 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued memorandum circular MC-SC-2021-02, which requires motorists to test at PMVICs if one is operating in their area. The memo borders on “mandating” motor vehicle owners to only go through a Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (PMVIC) if their LTO office has a functioning PMVIC within its jurisdiction.

To clarify, the LTO has made it clear that this is for the visual inspection and emission testing components only, while the other results of the motor vehicle inspection process will not be considered yet.

Still, a lawmaker was not happy with this development.

“The unpopular private motor vehicle inspection scheme has been roused from the dead,” said senate pro tempore, Ralph Recto, through his official social media page.

The senator called on the government to explain to car owners the “specs of this new order from the Land Transportation Office (LTO), whose endorsement of the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (PMVIC) services seems to border on the mandatory.”

Ang pakiusap lang po natin sa ating mga kaibigan sa LTO at DOTR ay ipaliwanag ang pangangailangan nito at ipakita ang legal na batayan kung bakit binuhay nila ang ganitong programa. (I’m asking our friends from the LTO and DOTr to explain this renewed need [for inspection] and show us the legal basis on why the program was revived.),” said Recto.

Inspection done at the LTO

Before the PMVIC, motor vehicle inspection has and always been done inside the LTO compounds by authorized personnel. The inspection involves visually examining the car and obtaining a stencil of the vehicle identification number (VIN) as proof that the vehicle was present before renewal of registration.

For Senator Recto, he also wants to clarify whether or not this kind of vehicle inspection is adequate, hence the need to go through a PMVIC.

“If a car owner will opt for an inspection done by the LTO, are the facilities of the latter adequate? Is this option available all the time, so they will not be shepherded to private testing centers?” he said.

The Senator also questioned the area of responsibility clause that limits vehicle owners to testing centers near the district office where they are registered.

Ang ibig po bang sabihin nito, ang isang LTO district office ay may katambal na suking PMVIC at kailangan po bang mag-detour sa PMVIC bago magpa-rehistro? (Does this mean that an LTO branch has a favored PMVIC and that vehicle owners must first go there before registration?)” Recto added.