Local environmental watchdog Clean Air Philippines Movement, Incorporated (CAPMI) stressed that modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) that passed the standardized Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) which tests more than 50 parameters for roadworthiness including emissions for clean air will promote the health and safety of jeepney drivers, operators and commuters.
“MVIC testing will not only help minimize, if not eliminate, air pollution from motor vehicles. Our long-standing health problems caused by smoke-belching vehicles like respiratory and cardiovascular ailments, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), hypertension, heart attack, strokes and even sudden death syndrome will persist if poorly-maintained public transport continue to ply at our roads,” said Atty. Leo O. Olarte, M.D., president of CAPMI.
Olarte cited the 2019 World Air Quality Report by Swiss-based company IQAir which showed that Filipinos are breathing unsafe air with high levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, a medically significant and harmful air pollutant to human health.
This report was confirmed by a stakeholder mapping study funded by the German development agency GIZ and conducted by the Development Academy of the Philippines which showed that polluted ambient air is estimated at 17 percent in Metro Manila and 80 percent in other cities due to incomplete combustion of fuels that contribute to the large number of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions, toxic compounds that are emitted from exhausts of PUVs.
“Jeepney drivers are actually the most exposed to air pollution than an ordinary commuter because of the longer working hours that he spends each day inhaling toxic fumes not only from the smoke belching jeepney that he drives but also from the polluted emissions of other motor vehicles in the roads that he is plying at,” said Olarte.
Olarte warned that if air pollution is not abated, other illnesses will spread. “The particulate matter from smoke-belching vehicles, along with other pollutants, can afflict jeepney drivers and commuters alike with various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases,” he added.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has been implementing the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) which aims to ensure safe, efficient and reliable public transportation at the same time provide an inclusive and holistic treatment to the public transport industry. One of the requirements under PUVMP is compliance to Euro 4 emission standard of PUVs to lessen air pollution and curb its effects.
The shift to Euro 4 standard PUVs is pursuant to the Department of Environment and Natural Reasources (DENR) Administrative Order no. 2015-04 that provides for the implementation of vehicle emission limits for euro 4, and in-use vehicle emission standards towards cleaner and safer air mandated under Republic Act 8749 also known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. Under this law it is the DENR that sets the emission standard requirements in the Philippines.
Aside from checking vehicle emissions, MVIS also checks the PUV’s steering, brakes, underchassis, tires, safety equipment like seatbelts, lamps, headlights, and electrical to ensure the highest standard of roadworthiness. The tests are conducted by Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers and has no human intervention guaranteeing technical accuracy and corruption free reports.