Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Tugade orders LTO: Hold implementation of Mandatory PMVIC testing until GAOR issue is fully resolved

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Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade directed the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to hold in abeyance the implementation of the LTO Memorandum directing all regional offices to adopt the mandatory PMVIC testing within Geographic Areas of Responsibility (GAOR) dated August 4, 2021, which was adopted as the subsequent result of Memorandum SC 2021-02 or the Implementation of Geographic Areas of Responsibility (GAOR) for the registration of light vehicles and motorcycles, issued last July 5, 2021.

Secretary Tugade made his position known anent the various issues surrounding MC 2021-02 or the implementation of GAOR, and has directed the LTO to conduct an immediate and exhaustive review of the policy.

He also implored the LTO to maintain the previous registration process where motorists can choose between a PMVIC and a PETC for the required vehicle inspection.

In the present set up, 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. Further, ocular roadworthiness inspection for heavy vehicles (gross weight vehicle is equal to 4501 kgs and above) are done by LTO personnel, and emission testing by the PETC, within the same GAOR.

Secretary Tugade recognizes the need for a smoother and more efficient manner of implementation of the GAOR policy, while also taking into consideration the current COVID-19 situation which hampers the required vehicle registration process.

In listening to the inputs of various stakeholders in the PMVIC program, Secretary Tugade calls for sobriety and unity to address the issues and concerns regarding this very important road transport policy of enhancing vehicle road worthiness inspection.

Scope of Inspection and Fees: PETC vs PMVIC

In order to keep our roads safe, the DOTr believes we need to have better standards to check the roadworthiness of vehicles. This is the principal reason why we are continuously advocating the conduct of strict inspection of motor vehicles.

Unroadworthy vehicles remain as death traps. And as one of the crucial factors to enhancing road safety, ensuring the roadworthiness of vehicles cannot be postponed.

With regard to the scope of inspection, PMVICs conduct 72-point full roadworthiness test for vehicles, including emission test, unlike in PETCs, where only the smoke emission is being tested, and not road worthiness.

In order to not impose any additional fee to vehicle owners, the DOTr was able to convince PMVIC owners to lower their inspection rate from P1,500 to P600 for light vehicles, and P500 for motorcycles, which are similar to rates collected by a PETC. Reinspection or retest fees were likewise waived.

Legal Basis and OSG Opinion

In the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) dated 18 March 2021, OSG said that the DOTr and LTO have authority to ensure the roadworthiness of vehicles and consequently implement the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS).

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 further 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.

Road safety is Paramount and Primordial

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.

Secretary Tugade acknowledges that there will be birth pains with PMVIC policy but he has stressed that what is important is to ensure that a long term and more modern and most effective vehicle inspection system is in place.

The safety and well-being of the motoring public is still the overriding priority.

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