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A CONSUMER advocacy group is up in arms over the supposed efforts of Senator Grace Poe to put a stop to the operation of private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs).

The Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya Para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) led by its president, Angelo Palmones believes that the continued presence of PMVICs has s major impact on the environment as well as on public safety.

“PMVICs are the next step in ensuring road safety, as has been institutionalized in all corners of our planet. AGHAM condemns the Senator for getting in the way of progress,” Palmones said in a statement last August 25, 2021.

“It is time to put an end to the rolling coffins and environmentally unsound vehicles that continue to ply our roads,” Palmones added.

In a privilege speech earlier this week, Poe told the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to address the alleged problems and headaches being caused to motorists by PMVICs during this time of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

These include alleged long queues and physical distancing at the centers and alleged burdensome costs, especially when compared to more traditional Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs).

Palmones, a former congressman, said PETCs facilitate the “status quo” which leads to unsafe driving conditions on top of continued air pollution.

“While it is necessary to ensure that the programs, terms, guidelines, and operating regulations that led to the creation and authorization of PPMVICs are within legal and constitutional bounds, let us not forget the system that this program is seeking to elevate and bring integrity to,” the former legislator said.

According to Palmones, solely relying on PETCs and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) District Office visual inspectors to determine vehicle’s roadworthiness and exhaust emissions compliance “has failed and will continue to fail the public unless it is completely revamped.”

“The status quo of con-appearance/no show practiced by fixers in collusion with PETCs, insurance companies, and the LTO District Offices themselves, has been so institutionalized that the very mentality of the Filipinos is no longer that of safety, but one of misplaced ‘convenience’, unspeakable corruption, and worst of all, complete disregard of Filipino lives,” he said.

“How dare Senator Poe choose that status quo over an initiative that although is not perfect, clearly does away with all of those opportunities for corruption. Does Senator Poe know about the system that she is choosing to uphold by stopping PMVICs from operating?” the AGHAM president asked.

“Is she really that blind, deaf and ignorant to the fact that the current system does nothing, absolutely nothing to ensure the road worthiness and environmental compliance of vehicles? If is baffling to us why she chooses to do so, and we can only conclude that such a conscious effort to turn a blind eye to the glaring failure of PETCs only means that she is protecting their interests,” the outspoken Palmones said.

He added that it does not take a genius to conclude that PETC/LTO visual inspections (or lack thereof), are worlds apart; it does not take a genius to conclude that PMVICs are far more transparent, reliable, and greatly reduces opportunities for corruption; but it takes only one corrupted senator to destroy the lives of Filipinos on the road.

Palmones said that AGHAM has made it central to its advocacy to promote all initiatives of government that put science and technology first in improving the welfare of all Filipinos, regardless of politics.

Meanwhile, AGHAM reiterated its appeal to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade to maintain the PMVICs, a move that would “correct the mistakes of previous administrations” and comply with the mandate of the Clean Air Act.

“When you look at it carefully, there is an environmental issue at its core. We can’t continue the old normal with PETCs, the blatant shortcomings of which had led to continued air pollution from smoke-belching vehicles even during the coronavirus disease pandemic” Palmones said.

He said that Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act places utmost importance in maintaining healthy and safe air to breathe for Filipinos.