PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s order to improve road safety in the Philippines through the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVIC) program has met resistance from Clean Air Movement Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) President Hilario Pitpit.
To address the standard of road safety, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) expedited the implementation of the PMVIC program, expanding the process of vehicle inspection to include roadworthiness checks on vehicles, rather than simply checking for compliance with emission standards.
“Bibigyan kami ng show cause order, pero pagdating sa hearing sa DOTr, kahit ano sabihin mo, talagang pupunta sa revocation,” said Pitpit.
Mechanical failure has been identified as the second leading cause of road accidents in the Philippines. The PMVIC program has long been in the works, dating back to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term, but was halted in its tracks due to political circumstances.
Prior to the rollout of the PMVIC program, vehicles were only checked for emissions at Private Emissions Testing Centers (PETC). Now, vehicles are required to pass a test with over 60 checks that will ensure the integrity of brakes, lights, wheel alignments and more. The program aims to promote better road safety in the Philippines by restricting accident-prone vehicles from plying the streets.
Despite the effort to prevent further deaths, Pitpit, who also owns a PETC, expressed his concern that PETCs will lose business due to people moving to PMVICs for testing.
“Pag na-privatize po ang MVIS (Motor Vehicle Inspection System), lahat na ng private vehicles at yung public utility vehicles, ang mangyayari, isasarado na lahat ng private emission testing centers,” said Pitpit. “Pagkatapos, lahat na ng private vehicles at public utility vehicles, sa private MVIS na mapupunta.”
Pitpit and CAMPI have allied with the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) to pressure the government into halting the implementation of PMVICs. VACC President Arsenio Evangelista alleged that the program was rushed and there was no public consultation.
“There was no public consultation and it seems that they rushed this decision. What we want now is to ask for a moratorium and have a public consultation participated by sectors concerned,” he said.
A public consultation was called, however, by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) back on July 31, 2019 to decide the guidelines for the motor vehicle inspection program. Moreover, several public consultations were held across the country at the local government level to decide who the contracts would be awarded to.
To recall, PETCs have previously been at the center of controversy, such as the photoshopping of emissions testing results to pass vehicles prior to registration with the Land Transport Office (LTO).
As early as last year, the DOTr began shutting down PETCs across the country due to various alleged violations.