Private emission testing centers will not be phased out – DOTr

Loreben Tuquero

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Private emission testing centers will not be phased out – DOTr

Around 18% of private emission testing centers nationwide, or 325 centers, have already been shut down, bringing fears of a phaseout

MANILA, Philippines – Private emission testing centers (PETCs) will still be allowed to operate amid the rise of private motor vehicle inspection centers (MVICs), transport officials said on Wednesday, February 5.

During the House committee on transportation hearing on Wednesday, Samar 1st district representative and committee chairman Edgar Sarmiento asked if PETCs would be phased out once MVICs are already in operation.

Not necessarily, because there could be some, for example, if a vehicle is cited for emitting too much smoke, ‘di po siya kailangan sa MVIC magpunta kundi sa PETC. Kasi ‘yun lang pong aspetong ‘yun ang checheckin eh,” Land Transportation Office Chief Edgar Galvante said.

(Not necessarily, because there could be some, for example, if a vehicle is cited for emitting too much smoke, they can go to the PETC instead of the MVIC, because only the smoke emission aspect will be checked.)

The allowed number of PETCs and MVICs will be recommended after further study, Galvante added after Sarmiento asked for the figures.

The LTO requires vehicles to undergo inspection and testing before registration. Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon added the market for PETCs will get smaller once MVICs are already in operation, since the LTO will only accept results from the MVIC for registration purposes.

‘Pag naging operational na ‘yung MVIC, magkakaroon ng natural attrition ‘yan. Kasi ‘yung number of vehicles na magpapa-emission testing, bababa, ’cause they will have to go to the MVIC.  Ang tatanggapin na lang ng LTO is ‘yung results ng MVIC for registration purposes,” Tuazon told Rappler.

(Once MVICs become operational, there will be natural attrition. The number of vehicles that will go for emission testing will decrease because they will have to go to the MVIC. LTO will only accept results from MVICs for registration purposes.)

Tuazon also heads the MVIC steering committee, which oversees the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) through MVICs.

The privatization of the MVIS comes hand-in-hand with the DOTr’s bid to modernize public utility jeepneys, as old jeepneys will still be allowed to operate as long as they pass the MVIS.

Phaseout concerns: On Tuesday, February 4, the newly-formed Clean Air Movement of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) formed by stakeholders from Private Emission Testing Centers held a press briefing calling for the continuation of their operations. 

According to Tuazon, there are 1,819 authorized PETCs in operation nationwide. Some PETC owners say that each center employs 5-6 people, meaning around 9,000 to 10,000 workers nationwide would lose their jobs if a phaseout of PETCs will be imposed.

Campi claimed that around 70% of PETCs nationwide have already been shut down due to violations that were not properly investigated. 

Meanwhile, Tuazon said that only 325 PETCs have been revoked of authorization, which is equivalent to around 18% of the total number of PETCs.

The closure of these PETCs hit some areas of the country harder, forcing motor vehicle owners to go out of their way and spend more to travel to another PETC tens of kilometers away.

Because of this, Tuazon said that they are eyeing the reinstatement of some PETCs by reviewing their cases, so as to better serve the motor vehicles in those areas.

Cost, slots still up for study: Stakeholders also expressed concerns over the expensive cost of MVICs, which have an initial testing fee of P1,800. In contrast, PETCs charge P300 to P400 for emission testing. 

The DOTr said that lower rates are being proposed, and public consultations regarding the fee will be conducted in late February. 

Meanwhile, the DOTr initially identified a number of 138 MVICs open for application and accreditation. However, Tuazon admitted that this number would not be enough for the demand, and thus another round of slots will be opened after further study. –

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Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.