MVIS no longer mandatory: Controversial testing struck down by Palace

    An MVIS testing center in Mandaue. (Facebook photo)

    STARTING today, private vehicle owners can register their vehicles without going through the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

    President Duterte yesterday opted not to make mandatory the controversial inspection system amid criticisms about its timeliness due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

    “Hindi na po mandatory ang MVIS. Ibig sabihin, kinakailangan walang bagong singil, walang karagdagang singil para sa pagpaparehistro ng mga sasakyan (The MVIS will no longer be mandatory. Meaning, there will be no additional fees in registering your cars),” Roque said, adding the President’s decision takes effect immediately.

    He said the President made the decision after considering the impact of the various crises confronting not just the country but the whole world due to the pandemic and the African Swine Flu (ASF) that has severely affected pork prices.

    Last Tuesday, some senators called for the temporary suspension of the operations of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) amid the rise in registration and testing fees and questioned why the Department of Transportation (DOTr) privatized the vehicle inspection program. They also raised suspicion the program is open to corruption.

    Under the program, which the Land Transportation Office implemented last December, private vehicles weighing 4,500 kilograms or less cannot be registered unless they pass a 73-point inspection system to be administered by PMVICs that costs P1,800. Motorcycles are charged P600 for the inspection.

    Under the old system, vehicles can be registered once they have passed the smoke emission tests being conducted by accredited LTO testing centers.

    LTO chief Ed Galvante, in a television interview, said private vehicle owners have the option to have their vehicles tested in PMVIC centers or have them tested in accredited smoke emission centers.

    Hours after the Palace announcement, PMVIC operators lowered their inspection fees to P600 for private vehicles, P500 for motorcycles, and P300 for jeepneys.

    Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the collection of re-inspection fees will be suspended for at least one year. Before the Palace announcement, re-inspection fee for private vehicles was pegged at P900.

    During a Senate hearing last Tuesday, Transportation Undersecretary for legal affairs Renier Yebra said the MVIS has the backing of the 56-year-old Republic Act 4136, Clean Air Act and Executive Order 125 of 1987 that authorizes the DOTr to seek the assistance of the private sector in motor vehicle safety.

    But Senator Franklin Drilon said there was nothing under the laws allowing the DOTr to delegate powers granted to the agency by Congress. He noted that the act of regulation of the DOTr and the LTO, like the inspection of motor vehicles and charging owners for them, can only be exercised based on the specific stipulations of Congress.

    Despite the Palace’s decision, Tugade stuck to his guns, saying the testing will prevent the unnecessary loss of lives and property on the country’s roads.

    “Ang road crash, hindi namimili ng panahon – may pandemya man o wala. Hindi ito namimili ng biktima – mayaman man o mahirap, we can all fall victims to this ‘epidemic on wheels.’ Kaya ‘ho dapat lamang na i-address na natin ito. Ito na ang panahon upang magkaroon tayo ng mas maayos at dekalidad na sistema. We have to recover and thrive amid the pandemic, and in the face of this epidemic called road crash,” Tugade said.

    The DOTr also pointed out that data from MMDA-TEC- Road Safety Unit MMARAS Annual Report 2019 showed there was a total of 121,771 road crashes in Metro Manila for the year, with an average of 334 cases per day. Of this figure, 372 ended in deaths while 20,466 victims suffered from non-fatal injuries and 100,933 resulted to damage to property. – With Noel Talacay and Myla Iglesias