Senate panel wants to repeal DOTr order delegating MVIS to private operators

Robie de Guzman   •   February 16, 2021   •   370

MANILA, Philippines The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday said it has recommended the repeal of the department order and all issuances related to the delegation of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) to private operators.

The panel, headed by Senator Grace Poe, said in its Committee Report No. 184 that the implementation of the MVIS is “flawed” and that the policy is “half-baked.”

“In the meantime, the repeal of DOTr DO (Department Order) 2018-19 and all related issuances is recommended,” the report read.

“While fees have been lowered for now and testing seems to have been made optional, the implementation of this flawed program must be stopped definitively pending the resolution of issues hounding it,” it added.

The committee cited in its report various concerns on the implementation of the MVIS.

These include the issues on the legality of the MVIS privatization, lack of consultation and transparency in accreditation, inadequate number of inspection centers in operation, glitches in the system, and overall incompatibility of private motor vehicle inspection systems with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) IT and landscape of motor vehicles in the country.

The panel said these issues remain unresolved without decisive action from the Department.

It further recommended that the Senate blue ribbon committee conduct a probe on the “highly anomalous transactions” surrounding the accreditation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) and officials involved.

“The questionable issuances seem to have created a favorable environment for an oligopoly where only very few players can enter and succeed,” the report stated.

“The inexplicable dark moments during the evaluation process and lack of transparency in the eventual accreditation of winning service providers bear badges of fraud which should be further investigated by the appropriate committee,” it added.

The panel likewise pointed out in its report that the absence of clear definition of roadworthiness, coupled with identified flaws in the inspection standards, “almost guarantees that there will be errors in the test results.”

“[N]ot only that this might lead to corruption, some also believe that it intends to facilitate the phaseout of older vehicles without due process,” it added.

The report also emphasized that while “the policy of ensuring only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads is commendable, a half-baked policy is a bad policy.”

Poe earlier asked the DOTr and the LTO to submit the names of the companies and incorporators of the accredited PMVICs.

The committee report said that 12 out of 24 of them do not have enough capitalization to finance an expensive inspection center costing more than P50 million, and eight others registered as sole proprietorships contained no information as to their financial standing.

It also pointed out that with only 24 PMVICs currently operational out of 458 originally targeted by the LTO, the unclear noncompulsory status of the MVIS only leads to more confusion for motorists.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that the MVIS will no longer be mandatory following criticisms in its implementation.

The Transportation department also announced that PMVIC testing fees were lowered from P1,500 to P600 for private vehicles, and from P600 to P500 for motorcycles. The rate for public utility jeepneys, on the other hand, will remain at P300.

DOTr suspends inauguration of LRT-2 East extension due to new COVID-19 restrictions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has suspended the inauguration of the LRT-2 East Extension Project from its original schedule on April 26 and set it to a much later date of June 23, 2021.

In a statement, the department said the adjustment is due to the new COVID-19 restrictions and to protect the health and safety of rail workers and the riding public.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan also reported that foreign rail experts who are necessary for the final stages of installation, testing, and commissioning works for the project have been unable to report for work or enter the Philippines due to stringent restrictions being enforced.

“As much as we would like to open the project earlier, kailangan pong unahin ang kalusugan at kapakanan ng ating mga rail workers at mananakay (we need to prioritize the health and well-being of our rail workers and passengers),he said.

LRT-2’s new stations, the Marikina Station and Antipolo Station will serve commuters from Recto, Manila going to Masinag, Antipolo, and back.

According to the DOTr, “the project is expected to cut travel time between Manila and Antipolo from the previous three (3) hours by bus or jeepney, to only 40 minutes.” AAC

DOTr warns vs fake Sec. Tugade Facebook account

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 16, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified in a statement on Thursday that the Facebook page/account bearing the name Sec Art Tugade does not belong to the transportation chief.

“Please be informed that Secretary Tugade *DOES NOT HAVE A PERSONAL FACEBOOK PAGE or ACCOUNT*, and is *NOT* involved in creating, managing, and handling the said page or other similar accounts,” the department stressed.

“Anything related to Secretary Tugade in his function and designation as Cabinet Secretary, and head of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is posted *ONLY* in the *OFFICIAL* DOTr social media accounts,” the DOTr added.

The agency also encouraged the public to immediately report to the DOTr any suspicious activity involving this unauthorized account, or any similar accounts for that matter. AAC

Around 1,000 repatriated seafarers from Norwegian cruise ship arrive home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation  (DOTr) reported on Tuesday that around 1,000 Filipino crew members aboard a Norwegian cruise ship arrived in the Philippines on Sunday (April 11).

The DOTr and its marine sector facilitated the arrival of approximately 1000 Filipino crew members aboard the MV “Norwegian Encore” at the Port of Manila.

The repatriated Filipino seafarers underwent profiling from the Department of Health and will undergo the mandatory quarantine and testing protocols set by the national government.

The said vessel will be used as the quarantine facility under the strict supervision of the Bureau of Quarantine.

The seafarers shall also undergo swab testing on the sixth day of their quarantine proper. Expenses for the swab tests will be subsidized through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

“The Philippines, having positioned itself as a crew change capital in the world through the DOTr and its maritime sector, commits to provide world-class services to international vessels needing fresh crew onboard amid the pandemic,” the DOTr said. -AAC

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