By Chito Chavez
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said 45 public transport personnel mostly drivers were tested positive for illegal drugs out of the 4,862 who underwent the procedures.
PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said the surprise drug tests on transport personnel were conducted as part of the agency’s Project: “UNDASPOT” throughout the country.
Those tested positive were 24 bus drivers, 14 bus conductors, three jeepney drivers, two van drivers, one tricycle driver and one taxi driver.
However, Aquino clarified the results are still undergoing confirmatory tests in PDEA forensic laboratories in the regions. These drivers were not allowed to operate their vehicles pending confiscation of their licenses while undergoing rehabilitation process.
On October 28, 2019, PDEA, together with personnel of Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), 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, and conducted surprise mandatory drug test to drivers, conductors and bus company personnel.
Project: “UNDASPOT” — the fifth installment of PDEA’s OPLAN HARABAS, is a surprise mandatory drug testing to all bus drivers and the conduct of K9 sweeping in the major passenger terminals and ports all over the country aimed to ensure the safety of traveling passengers for the upcoming All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holidays.
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. Illegal drug traffickers may take advantage of the bustling activity surrounding these passenger terminals to transport illegal drugs.
Aquino ordered the mandatory drug testing of drivers to promote a drug-free public transport system all over the country.
With this, Aquino also urged the transport sector, most especially bus companies, to implement their own drug-free workplace program.
Under Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 8 Series of 2003, all private companies employing 10 or more workers are mandated to implement their own drug-free workplace program, educate employees on the ill-effects of dangerous drugs, and conduct random drug tests for all their officers and employees.
PDEA has implemented five OPLAN HARABAS subjecting drivers to drug-testing nationwide: OPLAN: “UNDASPOT” 1 (October 29, 2018); OPLAN: “HARABAS” 1 (March 29, 2019); OPLAN: “HARABAS” 2 (May 16, 2019); OPLAN: “HULI WEEK” (April15-16, 2019); and Project: “UNDASPOT” (October 28, 2019).
A total of 23,949 drivers of buses, jeepneys, tricycles, vans, container trucks servicing the ports; and bus conductors and dispatchers have undergone said drug tests.
After confirmatory tests, a total of 258 drivers yielded positive results for illegal drug use.