In a recent discussion, the House Committee on Transportation held a dialogue with concerned agencies to prevent road crashes. Committee chairman Rep. Cesar Sarmiento said road crashes could be avoided if only the basics, such as proper screening of drivers, inspection of vehicles and strict implementation of road safety laws, were strictly followed.

“Do we really value the lives of our people or are we treating them as mere death statistics?”, said Sarmiento.

According to the latest figures by the Philippine National Police, most road crashes are caused by human error, mechanical defects and faulty road structures. The congressman said that Land Transportation Office (LTO) should not allow the registration of a motor vehicle if it fails to pass the roadworthiness test. He added that the LTO should also be more selective when issuing licenses to motorists, both to professional and non-professional applicants.

At the moment, there is only one Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) facility in the country, which is only partially operational.

LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante also admitted that the evaluators in the facility were not mechanics, and merely underwent relevant training and evaluation.

Rep. Rozanno Rufino Biazon urged Galvante to stringently ensure evaluators' competence simply because 'human lives are at stake' in the process.

In response, Galvante said that the LTO is working on building more MVIS centers and mobile testing units. The lone MVIS center in the country is located in Alaminos, Laguna.

As for acquiring a driver's license, the Committee said the LTO should not base the agency's performance according to licenses issues. Instead, the issuance of driver’s licenses should only be to 'deserving applicants'.

Again, Galvante admitted the lapses in the current system and pointed out the need to strengthen the procedures on the granting of licenses. The LTO is also aiming to amend the present legislation. The LTO Chief said they are now in the process of reviewing the system, including the written and practical examinations given to license applicants.