The drama over motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) and motor vehicle inspection centers (MVIC) is far from over. As you may recall, Senator Grace Poe, chairwoman of the committee, filed Senate Resolution No. 634 earlier this month, seeking to probe the implementation of MVIS and PMVICs. Now, the senators have spoken.

Their decision? Suspend the implementation of MVIS and PMVICs.

During the hearing, several senators voiced out several concerns over PMVICs and MVIS. One of the biggest issues discussed during the hearing was the price. Compared to just an emissions test that costs around PHP 500, vehicle owners now have to pay nearly triple that at PMVICs, not including re-test fees. Subsequently, the fees implemented by the LTO and DOTr were not coursed through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The costs are prohibitive for a still imperfect system. Mula sa P500 noon na emission testing fee, naging P1,500 o triple ang iminahal ngayon ng inspection fee. Dagdag pa ito sa mismong registration fee na maaaring umabot ng higit pa sa P3,000. Para sa isang sistema na napakaraming problema, makatwiran ba ang mga bayaring ito?” asked Poe.

(The costs are prohibitive for a still imperfect system. From the PHP 500 emissions testing fee, it's become thrice the price at PHP 1,500 for an inspection fee. This is on top of the actual registration fee itself which costs up to PHP 3,000. Are these fees reasonable for a system with numerous problems?)

Senators also questioned why MVIS was rolled out if PMVICs were unable to test all types of vehicles yet. Specifically, only private vehicles several PUVs were being tested, but larger vehicles such as trucks and buses were not. The committee also mentioned the numerous complaints of private motorists regarding the testing process itself. Another issue pointed out by senators was the timing of implementation.

“The timing of its implementation could not have been worse. We are still in the middle of a pandemic with no definite end in sight. Hindi ba pwedeng time-out muna habang nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya? (Can we not call a time-out since we're still in the middle of a pandemic?)”, Poe said.

Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva expressed reservations on whether the LTO or the DOTr has the authority to designate to the private sector such government regulatory functions that go with the PMVICs. Senator Ralph Recto, on the other hand, said that “LTO defective policies should be recalled like defective cars, to give us all time to fix them”.

With senators now calling for its suspension, the question now is whether the DOTr and LTO will follow.