55 public transport drivers positive for illegal drugs: PDEA
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) late Friday said 55 public transportation drivers were tested positive for using illegal drugs during their surprise nationwide test dubbed Oplan Harabas.
Out of the 4,470 drivers who underwent drug testing, PDEA screened 24 jeepney drivers, 13 tricycle drivers, 11 taxi drivers, five UV express drivers, and one bus driver positive on using shabu while one tricycle driver was found using marijuana.
PDEA conducted the drug test in 54 major public transportation terminals nationwide.
Majority of illegal drug users came from Region 9 or Zamboanga Peninsula where 25 were screened using shabu.
PDEA said the results are still undergoing confirmatory tests in their forensic laboratories.
“Pursuant to Republic Act 10586, or “The Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013”, these drivers were not allowed to operate their vehicles pending the confiscation of their licenses while undergoing rehabilitation process,” PDEA said in a statement.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino ordered mandatory drug testing of drivers due to increasing road traffic accidents caused by drivers who are under the influence of illegal drugs.
“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,” he 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,” Aquino added.
Based on PDEA data, since January 2018 until January 2019, around 3,654 drivers, bus conductors, and dispatchers were arrested for violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Oplan Harabas is a simultaneous surprise mandatory drug test to all drivers in public terminals to ensure safety of passengers and to promote a drug-free public transport system all over the country. Ella Dionisio/DMS