Graft complaint filed against DTI officials over vehicle testing

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The Coalition of Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines (CCAAP) argued that the Land Transportation Office and Department of Trade and Industry violated the Clean Air Act.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A graft complaint was filed on Tuesday (June 23) against Secretary Greg Domingo and Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba, both of the Department of Trade and Industry, for alleged non-compliance of the Clean Air Act.

The case was filed at the Office of the Ombudsman by the Coalition of Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines (CCAAP), United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC), and People's Movement for Democratic Governance (PMDG).

Specifically, the groups accused the two officials of negligence or dereliction of duty as written in the Clean Air Act of 1999 (R.A. 8749) — requiring DTI to formulate and implement the national motor vehicle inspection in maintenance program (Section 21-D).

Last June 8, a similar case was filed against Transportation Assistant Secretary Alfonso Tan Jr., who is also chief of the Land Transportation Office, and Rector Artiga, officer-in-charge of the LTO Management Information Division.

Herminio Buerano Jr., president of the CCAAP, explained to CNN Philippines that LTO and DTI weren’t monitoring and apprehending non-appearance testing that was supposed to be conducted at private emissions testing centers (PETCs). 

Non-appearance testing

Non-appearance testing is the act of issuing a certificate of emission compliance without the physical inspection of the vehicle. It is usually issued in exchange for P500, and can rake in a profit of up to P50,000 a day for the PETCs. 

"The corrupt practice of no show or non-appearance motor vehicle emission testing is rampant at the LTO. What is LTO chief Tan doing to stop this? He should resign now," said Zenaida Maranan, president of the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEDJODAP) in a press statement by the CCAAP last May.

In response, the LTO provided CNN Philippines with data to counter the accusation.

PETCs apprehended by the LTO.png  

Response: Parts of EDSA have high amounts of cancerous black carbon

"We’re surprised because records will show that this administration has fined, suspended, and removed more private emissions testing sites than past administrations,” said Jason Salvador, LTO spokesperson. “We’re implementing the law strictly. We’re apprehending motorists on the road.”

The data above shows PETCs who have been apprehended by LTO.

In 2013, Tan began his term as LTO chief. It was also the same year when additional penalties were given to violators who conducted non-appearance motor vehicle emission testing.

Buerano expressed that the data only points to a small part of the problem.

Before 2013, PETCs were required to pay a fine of P30,000 in the first offense, and then if they were caught again, they would have their certificate of authorization revoked.

Today, PETCs caught by the LTO are required to pay 30,000 pesos in the first offense, and another P30,000 in the second offense with an added month long suspension, before having their certificate of authorisation revoked.

Buerano continued that although the current LTO administration has indeed fined more PETCs, the additional processes they have added only delayed the process of apprehending non-appearance motor vehicle emission testing.

“Kung ganoon, bakit lalong gumagrabe ang ating air pollution?” he asked.

In addition to non-appearance testing, CCAAP also brought up the issue of faulty equipment for testing public utility vehicles (PUVs) for smoke belching and the recertification of violators who register under different names, among others.

LTO said it would fully respond to the case as soon as the Office of the Ombudsman had asked them to do so.