The newly implemented Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) and Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (MVICs) is drawing a lot of flak and criticism across the country. There are various reasons for the uproar, including faulty test results (Land Cruiser saga), vehicles that passed AND failed, and the case of a car getting damaged while testing. However, one of the biggest underlying reasons would be the price of the test.
Undergoing a test at a PMVIC will cost PHP 1,800 for private vehicles and PHP 600 for motorcycles. The price is more than double that of an emissions test in the past. If your car fails, you have to pay again to undergo a re-test. While some PMVICs might waive the fee of a re-test, others may not.
Do note that the PHP 1,800 price covers the MVIS alone. You still have to factor in vehicle registration that starts from around PHP 3,000 for smaller vehicles, and it only goes up from there. On any other day, the price to undergo an MVIS inspection might be fine. However, some are citing the on-going pandemic as a reason to forego MVIS. Furthermore, the economy isn't doing too well either since the prices of commodities and unemployment rates are sky-high.
But is the PHP 1,800 fee plus registration really expensive? Let's take a look at other countries.
In England, the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test for private vehicles is GBP 54.85 (around PHP 3,600), according to their website. The price doesn't include, however, the expensive road taxes and other payments vehicle owners in the UK have to pay.
Over in Japan, the vehicle inspection and registration process, popularly known as “shaken”, is even more expensive.
According to a source in Kyoto, the price varies per vehicle. That's due to different classifications, engine displacement, and age. However, prices for shaken can still cost as much as JPY 200,000 (PHP 92,000). And if your vehicle fails, you'll have to undergo the same process and pay again. There is a reason why vehicle owners spend up to a week or more preparing their vehicles just for it.
Unlike the Philippines, where registration is renewed annually, shaken isn't strictly an annual process vehicle owners have to make. Our source says that the shaken for the vehicle that costs JPY 200,000 is valid for two years and six months. Still, that's at least PHP 40,000 per year if you split the cost annually. Interestingly, we were told that some vehicles are required to take annual shaken tests. Another example our source told us paid only JPY 50,000 (PHP 23,000) for his shaken, but is required to undergo the process yearly.
Understandably, the prices of vehicle registration above are for developed countries which is why they cost a lot more, especially compared to the Philippines. For better comparison, we asked our friends in Thailand how much vehicle registration costs.
Surprisingly, vehicle registration and inspection aren't cheap either. According to a contact, he spent THB 10,000 (PHP 16,000) for his vehicle's inspection and registration. Similar to Japan's shaken, he said prices can go up or down depending on the vehicle, engine displacement, and age. For some vehicles, registration can cost only cost around THB 2,000 to 3,000 (PHP 3,200 to 4,800) with inspection priced at around THB 200 to 300 (PHP 320 to 480). But for reference, we were told registration renewal for a Nissan Navara costs around TBH 7,000 (PHP 11,220). Now, think about how much registration costs for your Navara? We doubt it's PHP 11,220 even with MVIS.
Interestingly in Malaysia, private vehicles are not required to undergo annual roadworthiness inspections. Instead, they are only required to do so when any of the following is made: engine change, transfer ownership, a vehicle is adapted to LPG, vehicle registration number is changed, or if road tax is out of date for more than a year.
Inspection costs in Malaysia typically range from MYR 30 to 50 (PHP 355 to 600). However, the road tax for renewing vehicles can range anywhere from MYR 90 (PHP 1,070) and go up to MYR 6,000 (PHP 70,000) depending on vehicle size and engine displacement.
Compared to other countries, even in Thailand, MVIS inspection and LTO registration fees in the Philippines are quite affordable. So, what's the problem then? Economy aside, the main reason for the outcry over MVIS and PMVICs is because of the issues with the testing process and questions about the credibility of the testing centers. If PMVICs were able to iron out all these matters and make sure that the right vehicles pass (or fail), there shouldn't be any problem paying the fee.
Of course, we want our PHP 1,800 spent wisely. If we keep seeing new cars fail and clunkers pass, then we'll be up in arms too.