Ever since the Philippines eased into General Community Quarantine (GCQ) last May, motorists, and vehicle owners have been flocking to LTO (Land Transportation Office) offices in order to have their vehicle’s registrations renewed; many of which have expired during the ECQ. As a result, this has caused very long queues and delays in particular with emissions testing. In fact, one congressman has even proposed to cancel the emissions testing requirements for this year in order to address the issue, even though it would violate the Clean Air Act. 

It seems, however, the LTO has a different approach to address the long queues: and that's the opening of vehicle inspection centers across the country. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTO are fast-tracking the operationalization of private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs) to cater to the vehicle inspection need of vehicle owners as a requirement for registration.

Unlike before, the new PMVICs are automated vehicle inspection facilities. Aside from checking for a vehicle’s compliance with emissions standards, PMVICs will also check its roadworthiness prior to registration. Results will then be automatically sent to the LTO’s IT system for processing.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade says that the automated system will also reduce the opportunities for corruption to occur. One common instance is when some emissions centers use Photoshop-type apps to cheat and beat the system

According to the DOTr, out of the 138 identified sites, 113 have already been awarded to private operators with the 25 sites to still be awarded. The Authorization Committee is hoping to operationalize 32 PMVICs nationwide by the last week of August. Following the 32 sites in August, 29 PMVICs are targeted to be operational in September 2020, 14 in October 2020, 3 in November 2020, 5 in December 2020, and 25 by January 2021.

Hopefully, when some of these automated testing centers begin operations this August, the backlog at emissions centers nationwide can be whittled down, as the PMVICs will essentially replace the emissions centers.