It should not be difficult to know where to pin the blame when we heard the news about dozens of private emission testing centers (PETC) nationwide getting slapped with suspension for falsifying emission test results the past few months.
Despite crackdown on erring PETC indicating the Department of Transportation’s (DoTr) fight against air pollution and global warming, eradicating thousands of smoke-belching vehicles on the road is an impossible mission if DoTr men and those they sanction cover up for polluters who easily hurdle fake emission tests.
From DoTr’s growing list of suspended PETC, it can be gleaned that the practice of falsifying emission test results is a national concern. Fortunately, agency leaders detected these erring test centers from Metro Manila to as far as Mindanao. Suspension, however, is too light a penalty, with what pollutants have been released into the air.
Moreover, the fake emission tests also increase DoTr’s burden in enforcing the Clean Air Act of 1999. The agency may need to trace hundreds — if not thousands — of vehicles that is as difficult as capturing hundreds of jailbreakers on the loose.
Air pollution causes respiratory ailments and is among the triggers of lung cancer based on many medical studies. This may be difficult to quantify but, if proven, suspended PETC may be liable to endangering public health and deserve prosecution. Philip Morris learned this lesson when smokers filed a class action suit against the tobacco company for misrepresenting Marlboro cigarettes as safe to smoke.
Cheating PETC also hampers DoTr’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program by weakening, if not destroying, the credibility of the agency’s motor vehicle inspection system.
PETC operators, however, could be in connivance with some government men, both in the local and national fronts.
But there should be an end to their cheating for big bucks.
Or we let them be the first to choke with what they force us to inhale.