Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, the panel’s chairperson, said he was not surprised over the growing public outrage over the MVIS’ ‘premature’ implementation. Early on, he said, legislators warned about its potential flaws.
In fact, Sarmiento wrote a letter to DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade on September 16, 2020, requesting him to defer the implementation of the MVIS project until after his panel had conducted an inspection of a completed Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center.
Sarmiento also lamented that the DoTr bypassed the request of Congress and rolled out the MVIS project. Thus, it is now generating protests among motorists who have been caught up by the new system of registering vehicles, he said.
Sarmiento reminded Tugade of the motion which was raised and approved during the House Transportation Committee’s December 11, 2019 hearing that touched on the issue about the MVIS.
During the hearing where DoTr officials led by DoTr Undersecretary Mark De Leon and Land Transportation Office chief Edgar Galvante made a presentation about the MVIS project, several congressmen and transport leaders questioned the absence of the stakeholders’ consultation before the crafting of the MVIS guidelines.
Sarmiento said that during the same hearing, panel members expressed doubts on the readiness of the DoTr to simultaneously roll out the project at the projected time.
Unsatisfied with the answer of Galvante on questions about the cost of putting up PMVIC facilities and how much a vehicle would pay for each motor vehicle inspection, Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando, former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman, requested the transportation committee to ask the DOTr and the LTO to hold in abeyance the implementation of the MVIS project.
Similarly, upon the suggestion of Bukidnon Rep. Manuel Zubiri, Sarmiento said that his panel agreed to review the MVIS project before the LTO starts full implementation and this would include the opening of a pilot center which would be inspected by the transportation committee.
“As an oversight function of Congress, a motion was passed to first check and inspect a completed PMVIC prior to implementation of the system. DoTr officials present during the hearing and the House members agreed to set the date of the inspection,” Sarmiento said in his September letter to Tugade.
“The DoTr bypassed the request of Congress and rolled out the MVIS project, and as a result, it is now generating protests among motorists who have been caught up by the new system of registering vehicles,” said Sarmiento.
For one, Sarmiento noted that apart from the fact that the cost of inspection in these PMVICs was questionable, there were also complaints that the system and its evaluation protocols were seriously flawed.
There are even reports of vehicles that were damaged during the process of inspection because of system incompatibilities.
The Sarmiento panel scheduled the inquiry on the matter on Feb. 10.
The investigation was also prompted by House Resolution 1518 authored by deputy speaker and Cagayan de Oro second-district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
In his resolution, Rodriguez said the new PMVICs, which were to replace private emission testing centers, were supposed to check a vehicle’s compliance with standards not only on emission but on roadworthiness as well.
He said the Land Transportation Office qualified and accredited at least 138 motor vehicle inspection facilities near its field offices throughout the country.
“However, there are already numerous reports of inconsistencies and anomalies regarding these private inspection centers,” he said.
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