2 emission testing centers in Region 12 in trouble for fixing results

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 June)– Two private emission testing centers (PETCs) in Region 12 are facing possible closure for allegedly engaging in fraudulent smoke emission tests.

Lawyer Putiwas Malambut, Land Transportation Office (LTO) Region 12 director, said Thursday they have recommended to their central office the enforcement of sanctions on two PETCs after they were found to have been issuing emission compliance certificates even without conducting actual tests on the vehicles.

He said they uncovered the illegal activities following a recent evaluation conducted by their office on the operations of PETCs in the region.

Region 12, also called the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Malambut did not identify the erring PETCs but noted that they are based in Cotabato City.

“We already elevated their cases (to the LTO central office) and it’s now up to our higher officials to determine and decide what sanctions are appropriate for them,” he said.

The LTO central office has closed down and imposed hefty fines on a number of PETCs in the country in last several years due to such anomalous activity, which it dubbed as the “non-appearance scheme.”

The agency described the “non-appearance scheme” as an illegal practice wherein PETCs issue emission compliance certificates to vehicle owners despite the absence of actual emission test.

In compliance with Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act, LTO requires vehicles to undergo proper smoke emission testing before they are registered.

Malambut said the erring PETCs usually offer such scheme as an alternative for owners of vehicles that usually fail the emission tests.

He said these include ill-maintained hauler trucks, public utility vehicles, surplus vehicles and those that were installed with old or second hand engines.

Aside from the “non-appearance scheme,” the official said they are currently monitoring the operations of the PETCs to check for possible procedural problems and violations.

He said they are also evaluating the vehicle records or database of the PETCs to ensure that they match with the data filed at the agency.
“This is to discourage them (PETC) from engaging in illegal practices and ensure the proper compliance of registered vehicles in the region to the emission standards,” he said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)