By Maila Ager
The Senate committee on public services recommended the temporary suspension of the operations of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) as more issues and questions were raised during the panel’s hearing on Tuesday.
“In light of the foregoing issues, it is recommended that the implementation of the Department Order 2019-002 or the revised order privatizing the MVIS (Motor Vehicle Inspection System) through authorization be suspended…” panel chair, Senator Grace Poe, said before concluding the hearing.
Poe enumerated several conditions before PMVICs should be allowed to resume operations such as thorough consultation with stakeholders, adequate number of private centers, ensure they would follow “reasonable” sets of standards, and transparency in the selections of the hubs.
“These are the things that we will look into and I feel that pending the submission of these, I think it is quite reasonable that we suspend this in the meantime,” she said.
During the hearing, several senators also pushed for the suspension of the MVIS.
Senator Joel Villanueva said the program must be suspended immediately until further study is conducted.
“Yung mga taong nakikinig at nanood ngayon, walang ibang iisipin kung hindi ito ay isang malaking raket kaya ho importante na dapat ito ay immediately i-suspend muna at pag aralang mabuti,” he said.
(Those who are listening and watching right now, they are not thinking of anything else except wondering if this is just a huge racket. That is why it’s important to immediately suspend this and study it further.)
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, meanwhile, questioned the legal basis of privatizing the vehicle inspection program.
“Hindi maliwanag sakin anong batas. What law, tell me, authorizes you to do this to privatize these testing centers? Meron bang batas? Ang tingin ko diyan overreach masyado ‘yan e,” said Recto, who earlier filed a resolution calling for the suspension of the operation of PMVCs.
(The law is not clear. What law, tell me, authorizes you to do this, to privatize these testing centers? Is there such law? What I see here is too much overreach.)
“I’ve read all the documents you’ve submitted and you’ve cited many EOs (executive orders), many other laws na walang maliwanag dun (that are not clear),” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon joined his colleagues in calling for the suspension of the MVIS.
“On the basis of the answers to the questions raised by our colleagues, on the basis of their opinions expressed, I think there’s sufficient basis for this committee to urge the LTO (Land Transportation Office) and the DOTr (Department of Transportation) to suspend the Motor Vehicle Inspection System,” Drilon said.
“Let me add my voice to support this call for suspension and I will point out the lack of any legal basis and in fact this could be contrary to law what the LTO and the DOTr are doing,” he also said.
Poe backed the suspension after being told during the hearing that the government could only collect P100,000 per annum from PMVICs.
“One hundred thousand pesos lang ang babayaran nila sa gobyerno (They will just pay P100,00)? Hay naku… I’m sorry but you still failed to convince us, Asec. Pastor,” Poe said, referring to Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Pastor.
“And I think that we are all unanimous here that we really need to suspend this…” she then added.