“We are bleeding right now.”
This was how the members of the Vehicle Inspection Centers Operators Association of the Philippines (VICOAP) described their current status after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) required them to lower their vehicle inspection fees.
“Right now, we are operating at a loss,” said Benson So, vice president of VICOAP, during a media tour of the Triple A private motor vehicle inspection center (PMVIC) in Valenzuela City. “Sumunod naman po tayo just to sustain the roadworthiness program natin.”
Before the DOTr made the appeal to VICOAP to lower its vehicle inspection fees, the PMVICs were evaluating an average of 250 to 300 units a day.
“‘Yun nagkaroon na ng confusion, ngayon po nag-drop from 50 to 60 cars per day,”
Dubbed by the group as ‘pandemic rates,’ the reduced PMVIC inspection fees currently sit at P600 for light vehicles (from P1,500 to P1,800) and P500 for motorcycles (from P600), while the P300 rate for PUVs was restained. These rates, however, do not include the 12% value-added tax.
These new fees practically match those of private emission testing centers, which currently charge P500 to P600 per vehicle. The problems of the PMVIC owners are not only confined to the huge decrease in customers, but also the downsizing of manpower in almost all the inspection centers.
At the start of the program, the first batch of PMVICs employed around 40 technicians and staff. Now their manpower is less than half. “Isang buwan pa lang kami ganyan ang presyo at nararamdaman po namin ang epekto,” So lamented.
VICOAP appealed to the media to help disseminate the benefits of its comprehensive vehicle safety inspection system in order to gain public trust and avoid confusion.