Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) released a new memo that says the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will only accept Motor Vehicle Inspection Reports (MVIR) from Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) in their designated area. Short to say, PMVICs are back.

The return of PMVICs raised a lot of eyebrows, especially for private motorists, given the backlash earlier this year. It even caught the attention of some senators questioning its legality, particularly Senator Ralph Recto. However, the LTO and DOTr have since responded.

“In the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) dated 18 March 2021, OSG said that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) have authority to ensure the roadworthiness of vehicles and consequently implement the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS),” said the PMVIC Steering Committee through the LTO.

“As to the issue of DOTr and LTO authorizing private entities to conduct inspection of motor vehicles, the Administrative Code of 1987 and E.O. 125-A allows DOTr to call on any corporation or organization, whether public or private, to participate and assist in the implementation of transportation programs,” the committee added.

Apart from its legality, the statement also emphasized the implementation of DOTr MC No. 2021-02, or the Implementation of Geographical Area of Responsibility (GAOR), for the renewal of registration for vehicles and motorcycles. It means that, for example, an LTO District Office in Quezon City won't accept an MVISR from a PMVIC in Pampanga and vice versa.

The said implementation will supposedly help prevent crowding and long queues at one specific facility. However, they added that vehicle owners not under any GAOR can still have their vehicles undergo the usual emissions test through a private emissions testing center (PETC). Unfortunately, no clarification as to the specifics of the GAOR, such as which PMIVC corresponds to which LTO.

The committee also addressed the cost of the testing. A full roadworthiness test at a PMVIC costs only PHP 600 for light vehicles and PHP 500 for motorcycles. No additional fees will also be collected for re-inspections or retests. More importantly, only emissions and visual inspection will be tested and collected by the LTO.

Considering how the issue of the PMVICs return has already piqued the interest of senators, we suspect this won’t be the last time we’ll hear of it in the news. Some (or a handful of) motorists will also have something to say about it.