The Baguio City Council summoned the owners of emission testing centers operating in the city and the
chief of the Land Transportation Office (LTO)- Baguio District Office to its regular session last September
5 following multiple complaints of disgruntled motorists regarding the long queues and the slow process in the conduct of emission testing and vehicle registration. Ma. Lourdes Moreno, owner of Galaxy Emission
Testing Center, said one cause of long queues was the daily quota imposed by the Department of Transportation(DoTr).

Pursuant to a department order (Section 6 of DO No. 2012- 10), the Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs) are restricted to conduct a maximum of 32 tests per day for dieseltype vehicles based on a 15-
minute test duration and 48 tests per day for gasoline-type vehicles based on a ten-minute test duration.
Gregorio Retuta, Chief of LTO-Baguio, said he is in favor of recommending shorter test durations to increase the number of motorists these PETCs can accommodate per day but with close supervision
to prevent dishonest emission testing practices.

An emission test is one of the requirements when registering a vehicle with the LTO. It gauges the car’s
emissions and tracks the pollutants it releases. As pointed out during the forum, another cause of long
queues is the apparent lack of PETCs in the city and in the Province of Benguet. At present, there are only
three PETCs in the city, two in La Trinidad, Benguet, and one in Tuding, Itogon, Benguet. Moreno said these testing centers cannot accommodate the number of motorists who show up every day for their
vehicles’ emission testing. The councilors stressed there is “dire” need for more PETCs in the city and in the province.

However, Retuta explained that there is a moratorium on the acceptance of applications for new authorization of PETCs. It was disclosed during the forum that there is one nonoperating PETC in the city, one in La Trinidad, Benguet, and one in Tuding, Itogon, Benguet whose licenses were not renewed and are currently applying for renewal. One of these PETCs whose applications for renewal have been denied is A-luz Vehicle Smoke Testing Center. The owners of A-luz claimed their license to operate was not renewed despite their full compliance with all the requirements. They filed for a motion for reconsideration and
are currently awaiting the decision of the central office.

Asked what action the city council may take to help address the lack of PETCs in the city and in the province, Retuta said the body may endorse to the central office the applications for renewal of
these compliant testing centers that are no longer operational. In the meantime, the city council advised the existing PETCs to come up with an effective queueing system to improve the current situation.
As for the slow-moving LTO registration process, Retuta said the new LTO system or the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) requires more steps to be undertaken compared to the old system or the Stradcom System, resulting in a slowdown in the registration process. Not only that, they also experience downtime with the new system, he added.

The LTO chief also mentioned that the number of personnel in the registration division had been reduced from 11 to only six. These six staff who start work at 7:00 AM and end as late as 8:00 PM, according to him, are burdened with a heavy workload. Taking into account all points raised during the forum, the city council’s Committee on Laws, Human Rights, and Justice will further study the matter for any possible
legislative action or recommendation.

Jordan G. Habbiling/ABN

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