The Vehicle Inspection Center Operators Association of the Philippines (VICOAP), the largest group with 80 Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) located in various parts of the country, has pledged its support for the government’s program to increase the standards of roadworthiness. This commitment will also help in reducing the number of vehicular accidents which lead to an annual death toll of 12,000, a number that is greater than the COVID-19 deaths that were incurred in 2020.
PMVICs were developed as part of a government initiative that first launched the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) in 1983 in order to ensure that the land-based vehicles, four-wheel and two-wheel alike, are capable and deemed safe to travel the roads.
Spearheaded by both the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the PMVICs elevated the standards of measurement that determined whether these vehicles would be allowed to run, or stay a few more days in the shop to undergo repairs or even an overhaul.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade explained the vision that fueled the formation of the MVIS and the PMVICs—and the urgency by which the issue of the country’s roadworthiness should be addressed: “We want to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives and property along our roads, dahil ang road crash, hindi namimili ng panahon—- may pandemya man o wala. Hindi ito namimili ng biktima–mayaman man o mahirap, we can all fall victim to this ‘epidemic on wheels.’ Kaya po dapat lamang na i-address na natin ito.
“Ngayon na ang panahon upang magkaroon tayo ng mas maayos at dekalidad na sistema. We have to recover and thrive amid the pandemic, and in the face of this epidemic called road crash.”
The current testing that is being done by the Private Emission Testing CenterS (PETCs) only focuses on the quality of the smoke being belched out by the car. This is in marked contrast to the PMVICs that check all the components of a vehicle according to a more than 60-plus criterion that looks at the quality, functionality, and structural integrity of its various parts. Brakes, headlights, wheel alignment, and others are checked and assessed to see if they are still up to speed and can meet the current road requirements—or if these parts need to be fixed or replaced immediately.
The more-than-60-point criterion will also give an accurate rating as to whether a vehicle can be driven throughout the roads, with minimum risk of causing an accident that can harm the driver, his passengers, and other people. It was the product of rigorous research and benchmarking by the DOTr and the LTO. The technical working group of both organizations baselined it according to ASEAN standards, while making them cognizant of the Philipine road setting.
The outcome and results are objective and reliable—because the data that comes from the tests and is processed through automation is not subject to human influence.
PMVICs also come equipped with technology like CCTV cameras and biometrics that record the actual tests that are being done on the floor and then can be reviewed later. This process reduces any opportunities for corruption such as the no-appearance scam. In PMVIC tests, which take only 15 minutes, the owner really has to appear in the center with his vehicle, and bring with him a copy of its Original Receipt / Certificate of Registration.
VICOAP President Iñigo Larrazabal said, “We are constantly gathering data across the entire inspection process—-data which can reveal any statistical anomalies that would point to corruption. And because most parts of the process are automated, we know that they cannot be tampered with. In other cases, we can review the data in vulnerable areas to identify any patterns of abuse so we can then act accordingly.”
He also likened the PMVIC vehicular tests as similar to a thorough executive medical exam given a patient, where critical parts of his physiology are checked through x-ray, citiscan, and blood work, among other medical equipment. The PECT test, however, would be like having a doctor checking the patient’s temperature—and then pronouncing him totally fit and healthy. “In the PMVIC test, we check everything. Because we are talking about the safety of lives,” Larrazabal said.
Sec. Tugade also said that the thoroughness and accuracy of the PMVIC tests and their results deserve continuing public support, and not knee-jerk criticism: “Pitumpu’t tatlo (73) ang nasa checklist ng inspection–kasama na ang emission test, alignment ng gulong, brake system, ilaw, makina at marami pang iba–bakit may mga batikos pa din? Bakit ‘di natin sabihin, “Hay, salamat! Mas masisiguro ko ang kaligtasan ko at ng aking mga kaanak at mahal sa buhay.”