"Why does the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers system seem crazy?"
There have been numerous complaints against the implementation and the use of the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers or PMVIC. These complaints range from the absence of internet connection at the local LTO office to decibel level testings that reach nuclear proportions.
When the vehicle inspection system was reapplied by the Department of Transportation under Secretary Arthur Tugade, it was envisioned to make our roads safe from vehicles that are not roadworthy. All vehicles should be inspected regularly before their registration application gets approved.
This project copies the global standard of roadworthiness inspection using modern technology as applied to the current motor vehicle technologies. A German firm was tapped to create an online system for LTO that allows all motorists to take advantage of modern technology in acquiring requirements for using our highways safely.
This includes online application of driver’s licenses, online payment of fines and fees, online application for medical examinations, and of course online motor vehicle registration and inspection service.
The vision of Secretary Tugade was to have all motorists process their requirements online using the Land Transportation Management System or LTMS and then have all of these requirements and tests integrated into one system so that unnecessary travels and trips can be eliminated.
As for the PMVIC, another German auto vehicle inspection equipment company was tasked to create a PMVIC system for them that delivers online service for all motor vehicle testing – minus the usual trips and falling in line in LTO offices for approval.
The initial LTO memorandum of agreement with system developers required that all PMVICs use one digital system with a set of certified and properly trained vehicle inspection technicians per PMVIC. This is to ensure that all tests are conducted with the highest standards and all motor vehicle data are kept secure.
This meant that every step of the motor vehicle inspection process is approved by a certified technician who is familiar with the testing equipment and parameters. After each test, the results are then transmitted to the LTO system online and for free (no computer and data transmission fees).
Once LTO began implementation, everything went haywire. It started when the former IT contractor of LTO, whose contract expired in 2018, continued to be used as a shadow system of the current IT provider. Because the previous provider continued to charge computer and data transmission fees that did not belong in any LTO government transaction, it became hard for LTO leaders to be rid of the old company. The excuse for their continued presence was that the old provider had not yet completed the turnover of motor vehicle and driver’s license data to the new system. This has been delayed for two years now. The computer fee costs the Philippine public some P9 billion every year. This is free in the original system.
And then came the complaints from certain business interests that wanted to get in on the PMVIC equipment action but could not, because the LTMS needs a compatible program to communicate with it for all PMVICs. In fact, a congressional question hour even happened simply to cast doubt on the use of one system for the PMVIC.
What followed is what our motoring public is experiencing at the moment.
Because LTO needed to please all interested parties in the PMVIC project, LTO and DOTr created a “Value Added Service Provider” system that allows all kinds of equipment to be used for the motor vehicle inspection program which allows non-compatible products. It also allowed non-certified technicians to operate this equipment even without the advanced knowledge needed. This is much like the RFID system fiasco on our toll roads.
Their main reason for this is because 1) the recommended equipment was too expensive, 2) they can always use an API (application programming interface), and 3) how hard is it for anyone to use the MVIC equipment, anyway?
Of course if one really understands the issue, we can see the flaws in these excuses: 1.) While they can get cheaper equipment, it will also need to be upgraded to communicate with the existing LTMS system. This will necessarily entail extra costs and in the end, the independent system will actually cost as much as the recommended system. 2.) While the use of the API is indeed a proper workaround, this will also require extra programming costs which makes their system expensive and gives them an excuse to charge questionable computer fees. 3.) Finally, we see the result of an untrained technician handling motor vehicle inspection equipment.
So we go back to the question: Why does the PMVIC system of the LTO seem crazy? We should ask LTO and of course, DOTr executives since their recent memoranda caused all of this confusion.