• Transport groups want drug tests back

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    VARIOUS transport organizations on Friday      raised their objection over the  implementation of a provision in the Republic Act (RA) 10856 or the “Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act” which threw out the mandatory drug test for driver’s license applicants; they vowed to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court.

    The Motorcycle Philippines Federation (MPF), the Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators (ACTO) and Pasang Masda will be filling a petition before the High Tribunal for a temporary restraining order against the newly enacted law authored by Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd.

    Atoy Sta. Cruz, of the MPF expressed concern about the possible negative effects of the law particularly on the effort of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in making sure that no drug dependent would be issued a driver’s license.

    ACTO President Efren de Luna, claimed that there was no public consultation done before the Senate passed the Sotto-crafted legislation and even if there was, it is clear that they were not invited.

    De Luna explained that when Congress was tackling the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the transport sector was among those consulted—and there was no objection to the provision for mandatory drug testing of driver’s license applicants.

    “Because of the removal of the mandatory drug testing, drug dependents as well as illegal drug peddlers are celebrating because they can now take drugs and drive,” de Luna added.

    “Silly”
    Sotto in a separate interview finds the plan of the transport organizations as “silly” because it appears that they willing to spend their money for a requirement that is considered ineffective.

    “They were rid of a burden and corruption, and they want to cough up money? [Sila na ang inalisan ng burden at corruption, sila pa ang may gustong magastusan?] Silly!” Sotto said.

    Sotto, main author of the Senate version of RA 10856 recently enacted by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, noted that that the mandatory drug test has become a waste of money for motorists and an ineffective way of weeding out drug users.

    Based on LTO data, out of millions of driver’s license applicants tested only a mere 0.06 percent resulted positive for drug use from 2002 to 2010.

    The low figure, Sotto said, could be because of the fact that drug users already know what to do for them to be able to pass the LTO drug test.

    Another reason is that accredited drug testing centers do not have the needed testing kits capable of tracing high-end drugs like cocaine, ketamine, Ecstasy and heroin. Centers can only trace marijuana and methamphetamine on urine sample.

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