PUV drivers undergo surprise drug test

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday conducted surprise mandatory drug tests on drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) nationwide to ensure the safety of travelers.

Dubbed as the “Oplan Harabas Drug Test Muna Bago Pasada”, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the drug test was conducted simultaneously in various public transport terminals nationwide, as part of the holistic approach to monitor drivers under the influence of illegal drugs.

“The driver who refuses to undergo the mandatory drug test will be reported and immediately endorsed to the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The safety of the riding public is our primary concern and this program will serve as our revalidation effort on the alleged illegal drug use by drivers of public transportation. At the same time, promote a drug-free public transport system all over the country,” Aquino stressed.

PDEA conducted the pilot implementation at public transportation terminals in Pasay City, which was simultaneously replicated in all regions across the country.

The terminals are Pasay City Jeepney Terminal, Pasay City UV and Jeepney Terminal, Mall of Asia Terminal (UV, Multicab, Jeep and Taxi), AJODA Nichols Terminal, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal, three tricycle terminals (DCRTODA, MATODA, and DCVTODA), and other 49 terminals nationwide.

Aquino said PDEA, as the lead agency in the national anti-drug campaign, has an innate responsibility to undertake measures to prevent drivers from being a cause of road traffic accidents.

Drivers who are under the influence of illegal drugs have been blamed for the increasing number of road traffic accidents. Based on PDEA’s data monitoring from January 2018 to January 2019, 3,654 drivers, bus conductors, and dispatchers were arrested for violation of RA 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. In the second semester of 2018, 1,902 of them were arrested, an increase of 37% from the 1,386 arrests in the first semester.

The program is a joint initiative of various government agencies such as the PDEA, LTO, Philippine National Police (PNP), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Local Government Units-Business Permit and Licensing Office (LGU-BPLO) and other stakeholders.

PDEA, in coordination with LTO and LTFRB, also conducted a surprise mandatory drug testing nationwide last October 29, 2018 under OPLAN UNDASPOT, where 10 bus drivers and two conductors were found positive for illegal drugs. PNA – northboundasia.com