San Fernando, La Union suspends PMVIC amid system woes

Updated Jan 27, 2021 | Same topic: Latest Consumer Reports

The vote was unanimously approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

A world-class transport management system isn’t an awful lot to hope for, right? That explains the recent efforts of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to upgrade its existing processes, whether it’s licensing for motorists or registration for vehicles.

PMVIC inauguration

One local government unit slams the brakes on its PMVIC's operations

At least, that’s the idea. The reality is that there are more than a few kinks that need to be ironed out, as one local government unit is showing. The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of San Fernando in La Union recently passed a resolution suspending the operations of the only Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (PMVIC) in the city.  

Vice Mayor Alf Ortega presided over the session where the resolution was unanimously approved by every SP member in attendance. This wasn’t some random act of spite by the city, even though it didn’t help that many motorists have expressed apprehension over PMVICs, to begin with.

>>> Related: LTO’s Motor Vehicle Inspection System: Everything you need to know

What was the reason for the suspension? The SP’s Committee on Transportation and Traffic Management reportedly met with a representative from the LTO to relay concerns and issues surrounding the vehicle testing center in question. Ultimately, a resolution was proposed to temporarily stop its operations on the following grounds:

  • The inspection and re-inspection fees (Php 1,800 for four-wheeled vehicles, Php 600 for motorcycles) were deemed excessive, especially for constituents who are still reeling from the financial effects of the pandemic.
  • The SP contends that the PMVIC violated the LTO’s Memorandum Circular No. 2018-2158, specifically Section 19 which provides for monitoring and analysis of feedback from customers, whether positive or negative. Moreover, handling of complaints relating to the Motor Vehicle Inspection Service (MVIS) should be done in accordance with the agency’s Quality Management Procedure Manual.
  • The city government needs ample time to inspect the PMVIC’s operations and personnel and ensure that these are able to deliver the service that private vehicle owners deserve. This includes compliance with relevant national laws and relevant local ordinances, as well as having proper authorization from the LTO. These conditions are stipulated under the General Welfare clause of Republic Act No. 7160, also known as the Local Government Code.

Pay special attention to the sound of your car's exhaust, as it should not exceed 99 dB

Pay special attention to the sound of your car's exhaust, as it should not exceed 99 dB

>>> Related: LTO MVIS Tips: AWD, 4x4 vehicle owners should be extra wary

At first, it sounds like a drastic move on the part of the San Fernando City government, suspending a mandatory regulatory procedure that has only been in place since late last year.

But stories of otherwise dealer-maintained vehicles supposedly failing the inspection, vehicle damage arising from improper drivetrain testing, and vehicles registering impossibly high noise levels due to equipment error proved too compelling for the city to ignore.

Is this an isolated development on the part of San Fernando, or will more cities and municipalities follow suit? How has your experience with a PMVIC been so far?

You won’t find any suspension of relevant industry developments at

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo


Joseph has been a member of various car clubs since he got his driver's license in 2004 – old enough to remember riding in taxicabs with analog meters, but his fascination with cars goes way back. After nearly two decades of working in broadcast media, he shifted gears by coming on board as Philkotse’s first Filipino member and staff writer in 2017.

Apart from his role in Philkotse as Content Team Lead, Joseph has written episodes for Drive, which has been airing on CNN Philippines for five seasons running. He has also delivered content for various car dealerships based in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep, Dodge, among others.

Keeping his hopes high and his revs low, he dreams about owning a Kei car when he retires. Hates slow parkers.

View more