Optional PMVIC--What That Really Means for Car or Motorcycle Owners

Optional PMVIC--What That Really Means for Car or Motorcycle Owners

Updated on June 23 2024

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) along with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) took 2020 as an opportunity to overhaul the Philippine Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) by signing the operationalization of the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVIC) on Dec. 29, 2020  into effectivity.

PMVICs are privately-owned, automated vehicle inspection facilities that will not only check your vehicle’s compliance with emission standards but will also test for roadworthiness prior to the renewal of its registration.

The Process

1. Pre-inspection

The PMVIC personnel will first check your vehicle's registration records, and if it is already registered in the LTO’s Land Transportation Management System (LTMS).

Three ways the PMVIC personnel can do this:

  • RIFD Scanner: They will scan the RFID tag on your car’s LTO sticker.
  • QR Code: They will scan the QR code on your car’s LTO sticker via a barcode scanner.
  • Manual Process: Your car’s plate number will be manually checked in the LTMS database.

If your vehicle is not uploaded or can't be found on the LTMS database, you will be asked to go to the nearest LTO district office to sort it out before you can proceed to the next step.

2. Queue

If you've previously booked an appointment online, you can directly proceed to the payment section, otherwise, you will need to proceed to the encoder window to tender your vehicle's OR/CR and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the latter in the form of a stencil. You will be given your priority number afterward.

3. Payment

You can settle your fees via the following accepted payment modes:

  • Cash - You can pay at the payment window in the PMVIC facility.
  • Debit/Credit card - This is done via the LTO's online booking platform right when you schedule an appointment.
  • Bayad center - You can choose to settle your fees beforehand via Bayad Centers and LBC payment centers.

4. Valet-style vehicle handoff

The waiting game starts here as you will need to hand off your keys to the facility’s designated driver while you wait for your priority number to be called from the waiting lounge. Your vehicle will be in the hands of the PMVIC personnel all the way through step 5.

5. Inspection and testing

Your vehicle will go through a series of eight tests in total, the details of which we won’t be delving into for now. These tests are:

  • Visual inspection
  • Sideslip or wheel alignment
  • Suspension test
  • Roller brake test
  • Speedometer test
  • Headlight test
  • Emissions test
  • Exhaust noise level test

6. Results transmission and printout

A Value Added Service Provider (VASP) will send your data to the LTO LTMS database and the MVIS results will get printed out. A point system ultimately determines whether your vehicle passes or fails after tabulating the result of each individual test.

If your car is deemed roadworthy it will get a "Pass" rating, otherwise, you will get a "Fail" rating which means that you will need to come back for another round of tests after your vehicle's issues are resolved.

7. LTO registration

Once your car gets a passing mark, you may now proceed to the LTO office nearest to you to get your vehicle's registration renewed. But if your car fails the tests, you will need to go back to square one and come back after the issues on your car are sorted.

The Good

Surely there are very good reasons as to why both the LTO and the DOTr decided to push through with getting the PMVICs operational even while we are in the middle of a pandemic. Some of the most relevant ones that come into mind would be:

  • Modernization of the Philippine Motor Vehicle Inspection System - I’m sure you’d agree that it’s about time we upgrade and that the modernization of the PMVIS is long overdue. The reason being is that in the past, vehicles would be evaluated merely through manual and ocular inspection since most of the testing equipment, if not all, are obsolete.
  • One-stop-shop for testing - Before, emission testing and the actual motor vehicle inspection are done separately simply because the Private Emission Testing Centers (PETC) and the PMVIS were two separate entities. This was a rather troublesome and time-consuming process to go through as you wasted not only your gas traveling from one center to another, you also spent more of your precious time. With the PMVIC, everything gets done in one location, and in a fully automatic manner at that.
  • More stringent process of checking for roadworthiness - The LTO and DOTr have worked hard to bring forth a battery of new tests and certification processes from other countries to the Philippines. These modern tests can get us a long way in terms of safety and preservation of life, not to mention care for the environment as far as modern emission testing is concerned.
  • Automated process - Unlike the old and outdated process, the PMVIC uses state-of-the-art testing equipment which will automatically transmit the results to the LTO’s LTMS database. This minimizes the need for human intervention which the DOTr hopes will also thwart opportunities for corruption. The new system will also cover more vehicles.

The Bad

Compared to the more basic testing procedure performed by the private emission testing centers before, the PMVIC is evidently more advanced and is more comprehensive. But while the latter meant modern technology and state-of-the-art testing equipment will be used to check your car or motorcycle, it does come with hefty testing fees for vehicle owners.

Private four-wheeler vehicles are charged around 1,500 to 1,800 pesos with a retesting fee of 750 pesos should they fail the test overall. Motorcycles and tricycles are charged 600 pesos with a 300-peso retesting fee, while jeepneys are charged around 300 pesos with a 150-peso retesting fee should the tests result in an overall failure, too. It is worth mentioning that the fees were later on reduced to around half of the original rates further down the road, but more of that on the latter portion of this article.

The fact that we are still in the middle of a deadly pandemic surely doesn’t help as the economy continues to suffer, and along with it are both the business and employment sectors, all of which are currently struggling to stay afloat.

The Verdict

One thing eventually led to another and fast forward to February 11, 2021, the PMVIC was declared “No Longer Mandatory” by the government. President Rodrigo Duterte issued an order for it to be optional as opposed to being mandatory.

“Hindi na po mandatory ang MVIS. Ibig sabihin, kinakailangan walang bagong singil, walang karagdagang singil para sa pagpaparehistro ng mga sasakyan (The MVIS will no longer be mandatory. This means that there will be no additional fees when registering vehicles),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque said that the president came to this decision to “balance” the needs of the public amidst the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.