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So, you still want to put up a PMVIC? Here are the requirements

It’s a big investment
PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

Before President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday that the Motor Vehicle Inspection System shall not be mandatory for vehicle registration, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) had announced that it will start accepting applications for at least 200 more private motor vehicle inspection centers (PMVICs) across the country, to be able to accommodate the large number of registered vehicles in the country.

Insiders say that more than 450 individuals and groups applied for the first batch of 138 PMVICs. Of the approved sites, the DOTr awarded only 120 after applicants were able to submit the complete requirements on schedule. From these, only 24 have so far been granted authority to operate.

PMVIC owners have to shell out P50 to P65 million for each facility, with the bulk of the amount going to testing equipment imported from Europe. Until President Duterte’s latest pronouncement, owning and operating such a facility appeared to be a profitable venture. But now that they’ve agreed to lower testing fees to just P600 for light vehicles, from the previous charge of P1,500 to P1,800, PMVIC owners say their losses “will be considerable.”

The fate of PMVICs and the MVIS isn’t quite clear at this juncture—apart from the presidential directive, there’s also a Senate resolution seeking to suspend PMVIC operations. It’s not what you could logically call a sound investment the way things are going, but if you’re still considering it as a potential future business—and to satisfy the curiosity of those who’ve just been wondering—here are the basic requirements to put up a PMVIC:

1) A viable site

Applicants must write a formal letter to the DOTr about their intention to put up a PMVIC. It is important that they clearly identify a proposed location, which should have a land area of at least 1,500sqm. The sites being eyed by the government for these facilities, for reference, are equally distributed in different regions.

2) Proof of financial capability

This venture requires a huge investment, so the government wants assurance from applicants that they have enough funds. According to our insider, the DOTr also requires a P10-million bond once provisional authority has been awarded for the construction of the facility.

Also, be ready with a layout for the PMVIC. Make sure you show every vital detail of the facility—the testing bays, the drivers’ lounge, the comfort rooms, and so on.

3) The right testing equipment

There are only a handful of testing-equipment providers that have passed the standards set by the Land Transportation Office. Applicants must be ready with a list of equipment from these accredited suppliers when they show up at the DOTr.

The first PMVIC owners were asked to start building their facilities in December 2019 with a completion time of 120 days. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused major delays both with construction and the importation and installation of testing equipment.

The last we heard, the processing of applications was done mostly online, and that the DOTr is very strict with the requirements—one mistake and you’re out. But again, that was before the latest twist in this PMVIC issue.

So...still interested?

NOTE: This article first appeared on . Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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