Tugade lambasts emission testing centers

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    THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) is basically a regulatory department whose mandate is to promote, develop and regulate a dependable and coordinated network of transportation systems for the nation.

    One of the department’s main concerns is fast, safe, efficient and reliable transportation services for Filipinos. Towards this end, the DOTr takes on many serious challenges in the field of transport and mobility. In the executive department of the government, it is the primary institution involved in policy, planning, programming, coordinating, and implementing every aspect of land, air, and water transportation.

    If in the future there will be other modes of transport apart from land, water and air, rest assured that the DOTr will be there to regulate the field.

    It is therefore somewhat unlikely that the department is also a revenue-generating agency of the government, as it was reported this week that the DOTr under Secretary Arthur P. Tugade will make the nation’s coffers richer by several millions of pesos.

    The DOTr is set to remit the amount to the National Treasury, representing fines and penalties paid by erring Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs). These businesses are authorized private facilities which are partners of the DOTr in testing the level of opacity and analysis of the gaseous emission of a motor vehicle in accordance with Republic Act 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act.

    DOTr, through its Investigation, Security and Law Enforcement Staff (ISLES) and Franchising Review Staff (FRS), has reported millions of pesos worth of fines collected from numerous PETCs nationwide with violations ranging from having no testing probes, no testing machines, to the non-appearance of vehicles for testing or falsification of test results. The Department said there is a significant increase in fines collected starting 2017.

    For the year 2017, a total of P90,000 in fines from three PETCs, while a total of P450,000 in fines, were collected from six PETCs in 2018. Last year, the DOTr received a whopping P10,890,000 in collected fines for the period of April to December from 89 erring PETCs nationwide.

    For the period of January 1 to January 27, 2020 alone, there were already 86 PETCs that have been found to commit violations. There erring businesses have paid a total of P9,990,000 in penalties.

    Secretary Tugade is not happy collecting fines as the violations committed by these testing centers endanger the lives of the public and harm the environment.

    Tugade warned: “This increasing number of violators is a clear manifestation of their defiance of the law. Your accreditation as emission testing center is just a privilege given to you by the government. Do not wait for us to issue suspension orders or revocation of your permits to operate.”

    Strong words from a no-nonsense secretary and the emission testing centers are well advised not to test his patience.

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