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

Robie de Guzman   •   February 16, 2021   •   633

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 asks Google to include PH bike lane routes in map app

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday said it has requested Google to include the country’s bike lane routes in the dashboard of its popular real-time navigation app Google maps.

The DOTr said the inclusion of bike lanes on Google maps will help cyclists on their daily commutes.

“This will be a very good innovation for Google Maps considering that many Filipinos now are riding bikes as their main mode of transportation which brings significant health and environmental benefits especially amid the pandemic,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

Google has yet to approve DOTr’s request but Tugade expressed confidence the tech giant will most likely pursue the suggestion as it is a supporter of active transport.

“We have asked Google to consider this suggestion top priority considering the increasing number of Filipino cyclists. We are confident that we can win their support on this,” said Tugade.

The DOTr said it has already completed its 500-kilometer bike lane network in metropolitan cities across the Philippines.

The bike lane network includes Metro Manila (313.12 kilometers), Metro Cebu (129.47 kilometers), and Metro Davao (54.74 kilometers).

Bike lanes have pavement markings, physical separators, solar-powered road studs, thermoplastic paints, road signages, and bike racks.

The project was funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the DOTr said.

Pangilinan proposes expansion of fuel subsidy to other PUV drivers in 2022

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan wants the coverage of the government’s fuel subsidy beneficiaries to be expanded next year once the prices of petroleum products increase anew.

During the Senate deliberation on the 2022 budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Pangilinan proposed that a special provision be added to the General Appropriations Bill for 2022.

Pangilinan said this will extend the coverage of the Pantawid Pasada Program to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers once the prices of crude oil in the world market go up to USD 80 per barrel.

“It can or may include taxi, tricycle drivers, ride-hailing, delivery services considering that we are still in a state of emergency,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said the fuel subsidy is only limited to legitimate public utility jeepney franchise grantees.

Senator Grace Poe who sponsored the DOTr’s budget agreed to Pangilinan’s proposal.

The DOTr’s proposed 2022 budget for its fuel subsidy program is at Php5-billion.

“The aim of this Php5 billion is for 365,000 units of PUV to be subsidized at 13,500 per unit. But if we can expand the program so that those in the other types of PUV can be covered that would certainly be welcome if we can find funding for that,” Poe said.

Transport group, Pasang Masda, welcomed this Senate initiative.

“Maganda na yung may mga initiative na ganito na talagang mayroon silang mga magandang programa para sa mga drivers ng pampublikong sasakyan. Ako’y nagpapasalamat dito,” said Pasang Masda president Obet Martin.

Martin, however, said drivers are still awaiting the fuel subsidy for this year.

He also called on Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Martin Delgra regarding the implementation of fuel discounts in select gasoline stations.

“Ang ceiling na hinihingi namin P3 hanggang P5 kung makakaya nila hanggang sa mataas lang ang presyo ng petroleum products. Eh ngayon nga medyo bumababa na, eh hindi pa rin namin nararamdaman ‘to,” Martin said.

The group also hopes that the government’s free ride project will continue in 2022.

The DOTr has allotted around Php10-billion budget for the service contracting program for 2022.

Poe said the Senate Committee on Public Services will look closely at the transportation department’s implementation of its programs to ensure that PUV drivers are well-protected. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Wearing of face shields in public transport no longer required in areas under alert levels 1 to 3 – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The wearing of face shields in all public transportation will no longer be mandatory in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, 2, and 3, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Tuesday.

The DOTr made the announcement after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the following protocols:

  • For areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns, the use of face shields in community settings shall be mandatory;
  • For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units (LGUs) and private establishments are given discretion to mandate the use of face shields; and
  • For areas under Alert Levels 3, 2 and 1, the use of face shields shall be voluntary.

DOTr representative to the IATF-EID and Undersecretary for Administrative Services Artemio Tuazon Jr. said the department will immediately enforce the protocols on the use of face shields.

“In line with the directive issued by the IATF, which was also approved by the Palace, wearing of face shields in areas, where Alerts Level 1, 2 and 3 are in place, is no longer mandatory. It will be voluntary,” Tuazon said in a statement.

To recall, all passengers in any mode of public transportation were required to wear face shields, aside from face masks, effective August 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, despite the lifting of the mandatory use of face shields, the DOTr reminded that public that stringent preventive measures remain in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities.

These include the mandatory wearing of face mask, strict enforcement of the social distancing measure, and frequent sanitation.

Talking and eating are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation, the DOTr added.

The government lifted the mandatory use of face shields in public areas amid declining cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

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