‘Undaspot’ drug tests net 33 transport drivers: PDEA

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Tuesday said 33 public transport vehicle personnel tested positive for illegal drug use based on the results of its random drug test dubbed as “Oplan Undaspot”, to ensure public safety during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holidays.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the results came from the drug tests conducted on 4,675 drivers.

Those who tested positive for drug use include 15 bus drivers, 12 bus conductors, three jeepney drivers, one van driver, one tricycle driver, and one taxi driver.

“These drivers were not allowed to travel pending the confiscation of their licenses while undergoing rehabilitation process which include health awareness, and psychological and spiritual activities such as counseling, moral recovery, values formation, personal and life skills provided by the local government before reclaiming their licenses,” Aquino said in a statement.

On Monday, PDEA, together with representatives from the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Philippine National Police (PNP), proceeded to JAC Liner Bus Terminal and PHILTRANCO Bus Terminal, both in Pasay City; and Quezon City’s Partas Bus Terminal and Five Star Bus Terminal, to conduct the surprise mandatory drug test to drivers, conductors and bus company personnel.

Aquino ordered the mandatory drug testing to curb incidents of vehicular accidents caused by drugged drivers, and make the roads safer especially this holiday travel rush.

“Long trips, particularly by provincial drivers, may be detrimental to the safety of the passengers due to fatigue. Thus, the possibility that the bus drivers use illegal drugs to counter fatigue and keep them alert cannot be discounted,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the drug test result “will be immediately endorsed to LTO for proper action.”

PDEA, with the assistance of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), also swept the country’s high-risk airports and major seaports for illegal drugs using K9s as illegal drug traffickers may take advantage of the bustling activity to transport illegal drugs.

Part of the activity was the distribution of drug preventive information, education and communication materials to travelers for their awareness on a safe and secure journey.

Based on PDEA’s records from last year’s Oplan “Undaspot” (October 29-31, 2018), Oplan “Huli” Week (April 15-16, 2019), and Oplan “Harabas” (March 29, 2019 and May 16, 2019), a total of 19,087 drivers, conductors, helpers and employees of public transport services and terminal underwent the drug test.

A total of 213 or 1.11 percent tested positive for use of shabu and marijuana.  Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com