THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), on Sunday, urges leaders of the transport sector to implement the drug testing of bus drivers.
It was in light of the Valisno bus that crashed in the boundary arch of Caloocan and Quezon City in Quirino Highway on August 12 that killed four passengers and injured 18 others.
The jailed bus driver who fled after the incident, George Pacis, tested positive for the use of methamphetamine hydrochloride, known as shabu.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr. noted that the rise of road accidents that involves several bus mishaps were caused by bus drivers who are high on drugs.
“These incidents proved that there is a prevailing practice of illegal drug use among bus drivers,” he said.
PDEA, however, is hopeful that the transport sector will police its ranks and encourage their members to submit themselves for drug testing.
“We will not wait until an accident happens on the road because the man behind the wheel is high on drugs,” the PDEA chief added.
On May 27, 2013, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III approved and signed into law Republic Act (RA) 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, which penalizes persons who drive under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and similar substances, and for other purposes.
The law took effect on June of 2013. Violators of RA 10586 may face penalties ranging from three months to 20 years in prison and fines of P20,000 to P500,000.
Meanwhile on December 2011, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued Memorandum Circular 2011-014, where in case of road accidents involving public utility vehicles resulting in death, physical injury or damage to property, and in order to prevent or avoid further damage or injury to the riding public, all drivers of the PUV operator shall be required to undergo a Road Safety Seminar to be conducted by agencies accredited by the LTFRB, and drug testing by a drug testing center duly accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) within 30 days from receipt of the Order.
In the said Memorandum, should the particular vehicle/s involved in the accident be found not to be roadworthy, as well as the other vehicles of the PUV operator which have not passed the roadworthy inspection after the lapse of the 30 day period, shall be dropped from the franchise and the yellow plates thereof confiscated and subject to the disposition of the LTFRB.