Number of PUVs that passed MMDA Anti-Smoke Belching Unit’s test is ridiculous

You might have, on occasion, seen constables of the MMDA Anti-Smoke Belching Unit conducting tests on PUVs along certain stretches of roads in Metro Manila. Aside from judging a PUV’s roadworthiness, this practice comes up with statistics as to how many can and cannot be judged as such based on how much smoke they emit. The August numbers have been shared by the agency, and really, it’s deplorable.

314 PUVs tested by MMDA for smoke-belching in August, more failed than passed

Mmda Anti Smoke Belching Unit Republic Act Ra 8749 Philippine Clean Air Act Of 1999 Inline 01 Min

Photo: Metro Manila Development Authority

The Anti-Smoke Belching Unit of the MMDA continues random PUV testing to this day, and in a post that the agency shared on its social media page, they published the numbers from August 2023. A total of 314 public utility vehicles including delivery trucks were part of the tests and the results were sad, to say the least. Sad, but not so unexpected.

Mmda Anti Smoke Belching Unit Republic Act Ra 8749 Philippine Clean Air Act Of 1999 Inline 02 Min

Photo: Metro Manila Development Authority

Using an opacimeter, the volume and density of exhaust smoke are measured, and of the 314 vehicles, only a paltry 121 passed the MMDA Anti-Smoke Belching test and 193 failed. 193, folks. That is almost 2/3 of the total number of vehicles, almost 2 out of every 3 vehicles that do not meet emissions regulations and haplessly pollute the environment.

For all you motorists out there, the question on most if not all our minds is “How in the world do these vehicles even get registered in the first place?”. Worse, we’ve seen red plate-bearing government vehicles belch it out like a grand barrio fiesta along major and interior roads, too. It would be interesting if the MMDA included that bit of information on their post, yes? Government vehicles should not be exempted, after all.

Mmda Anti Smoke Belching Unit Republic Act Ra 8749 Philippine Clean Air Act Of 1999 Inline 03 Min

Photo: Metro Manila Development Authority

The MMDA’s Anti-Smoke Belching Unit follows Republic Act 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. This clearly prohibits the travel and use of smoke-belching vehicles until such time they are properly serviced and pass the opacimeter test as non-pollutant vehicles. It’s good that there’s something of a “crackdown” happening, but the fact is that this is not enough.

Who must be held responsible for these vehicles being successfully registered as roadworthy? What will the LTO and LTFRB do to stop this madness? What penalties await vehicle owners who, in their full awareness, spew literal blackness out of their vehicle’s rear ends? Questions need answering, and once information like this takes to cyberspace, perhaps the MMDA will give the motoring public and the general Mother Nature-loving populace some answers.

They should, actually. They and every other government agency involved who can stop this ridiculous crime against the environment and the land’s laws.

Mikko Juangco
1 Comment
  1. Honestly, I was not expecting a single PUJ to pass the test! No joking here! Have you seen the number of delivery vans being stopped on Makati entry and exit thoroughfares? Then you see a PUJ drive by spewing very thick black smoke right under their noses! What gives here? Selective testing and selective application of the law? I hope I see this post in your next email blast on smoke belching PUJ’s and PUV’s. Thank you!

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