By Chito Chavez
In support of the Duterte administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs, it will now be mandatory for passengers to present their identification cards and have their packages opened before they can avail of the services of ride-sharing apps.
This was the gist of the memorandum of agreement signed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS).
PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said the driver may refuse to accept the transport of packages or decline to accommodate passengers who refuse to have their packages opened for scrutiny.
With the advancement of technology, groups linked to illegal drug trade have used the TNVS to deliver their contrabands.
LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III noted that the tie-up among government agencies and the three Transport Network Companies (TNC) namely Uber, Mr. Taxi Philippines (Grab), and U-Hop is a positive move in the government’s intensified drug war.
The three TNC are the only accredited ride-sharing apps of the LTFRB.
Under the MOA, the aforementioned parties will coordinate and interact to prevent the transport of illegal drugs through the TNVS.
In the agreement, PDEA will take the lead role in the investigation, arrest and filing of charges in coordination with the LTFRB and the TNCs.
The LTFRB will facilitate any program for the effective implementation of the agreement, encourage the TNVS operators to undergo PDEA trainings to be integrated in the LTFRB Drivers’ Academy Training, penalize non-complying TNVS operators, and provide information to all TNVS drivers with the hotline numbers of the PDEA and LTFRB.
Aquino also urged the TNVS drivers and operators to exercise due diligence to ensure that they will not be used to transport any contraband.
On September 19, 2017, one Jovet Atiliano was arrested after admitting that he used the services of TNVS drivers to deliver packages containing illegal drugs to his online clients.
Atiliano yielded 500 pieces of party drugs and other illegal drugs worth P1 million. He was arrested by PDEA agents in his condominium in Mandaluyong City.
The TNVS drivers Atiliano hired were unaware that they were carrying the contraband concealed in the packages.
Aquino said drug syndicates and dealers “will register using fictitious names and pre-activated SIM cards to avoid detection in case the delivery goes amiss and is intercepted by authorities with the unwitting driver will likely to suffer the dire consequences.”
He also encouraged the TNCs operators and drivers to help enhance intelligence efforts by reporting information to authorities. “Report suspected packages directly to us,” he stressed.
Tags: Duterte administration, Grab, Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board, mandatory presentation of IDs, Manila Bulletin, Martin Delgra, transport network vehicle services, Uber, war on drugs