We have our hand for President Rodrigo Duterte, the Vehicle Inspection Center Operators Association of the Philippines, the Department of Transportation, and the House of Representatives for agreeing to lower testing fees and waive retesting fees for the year.
Last week, Malacanang said while the President had made the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) non-mandatory, the MVIS was still required in the registration of vehicles, but the rates for the inspection would not increase.
The Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center owners have also agreed to collaborate with the Department of Transportation and the House of Representatives to lower their testing fees and waive their retesting fees for the year.
In a press conference last week initiated by the DOTr, Vehicle Inspection Center Operators Association of the Philippines President Iñigo Larrazabal said “In the same way that we responded to the first call of the government about road worthiness and made the investment without hesitation, we continue to believe that this is a good and worthy program.”
In Malacanang, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said private motor vehicle inspection centers agreed to “operate at a loss” by lowering their inspection rates and suspending the collection of reinspection fees for a year.
We heard Senator Grace Poe say “Appeals are good but decisive action is better,” as she called on the leadership of the DOTr and LTO to officially suspend the implementation of their issuances on the privatized MVIS immediately pending thorough review and stakeholder consultation.
Poe, chair of the Senate Public Services committee, said the fees were set by the Department and LTO’s own issuances.
Poe has said “It is the department’s own Department Order 2018-019 which stated that the “DOTr, through the LTO, shall issue guidelines for Authorization of PMVIC which shall include… inspection base fees.”
In a subsequent Memorandum Circular 2019-009, the DOTr itself said “inspection fees shall be determined after public consultation conducted by the DOTr in coordination with LTO and LTFRB”.
One question hangs in the air: “A temporary suspension of fees only begs the question: Why do motorists need to shoulder the burden of the new system?”
The President had ordered the suspension of the implementation of the MVIS following complaints of some solons and sectors regarding its expensive charge on the yearly vehicle registration.
But Roque said private motorists still have to submit an emission clearance or MVIS when registering their vehicles.
“ While the President said that the Motor Vehicle Inspection should not be implemented, private vehicle owners should still submit either the emission clearance or the MVIS,” Roque had said.
We see how the Palace official welcomed the operators of private motor vehicle inspection centers for going with the rate of P600, the same as the emission test.
For P600,while there is a pandemic, Roque had noted, “your vehicle will be subject to 73 roadworthy inspection checks.”
The Department of Transportation on February 11 urged private vehicle inspection centers to lower their fees.
The implementation of the MVIS has faced criticism due to supposed malpractice, calibration errors, and other undesirable occurrences.
In a statement, the PMVIC said “we have as a group agreed to lower our fees during this pandemic. The new fees are as follows: P600 for light vehicles; P500 for motorcycles; and P300 for public utility jeepneys.
“We understand fully that given today’s economic climate, many Filipinos are struggling financially. Many have lost their jobs while others are struggling to change industries. We understand that the added cost of vehicle inspections will be difficult for many.”
That certainly is a warming line.
While acknowledging that MVICs are not mandated for vehicle registration, Larrazabal said, “Our work in PMVICs goes beyond compliance and regulation. This is about saving lives.
“No one can mandate us to save other people’s lives; this is our moral obligation to make sure that our vehicles are safe not just for our families, but that we don’t pose a threat to others on the road.”
LTO Asec. Edgar Galvante agreed with Larrazabal that the “primordial concern right now is safety,” adding his organization “will work closely and extend their assistance” to the MVICs to prioritize this concern.
The DOTr and the VICOAP’s decision was a response to recent Congressional hearing of the Committee on Transportation where Committee Chair Rep. Edgar Mary S. Sarmiento, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo, and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Macapagal Arroyo appealed to PMVIC owners to help motorists who are currently financially struggling.
Sarmiento said it would relieve many Filipinos if the retesting fees were reconsidered.
He added the request to PMVICs to waive the retesting fees was part of the “birth pains” in forming a lasting solution to the problem of road accidents that have been costing lives and damaging property.
Rep. Sarmiento also supported the PMVICs: “‘We are here to help a project that is very laudable.”
Deputy Speaker Marcoleta said that the critics of the DOTr, the LTO, and the PMVICs should give them a chance to “answer the questions.”
Well said. (AI/MTVN)