By Chito Chavez
With no let-up in the government’s drug war, three drivers and two conductors in Quezon City and two drivers in Pasay City tested positive for illegal drugs as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), in coordination with other agencies, conducted mandatory drug tests in bus terminals in the metropolis.
PDEA spokesman Derrick Arnold Carreon said the test results were only initial results as it covers only Metro Manila with the PDEA led mandatory drug tests being conducted in the bus terminals nationwide.
“The drug test result is only in NCR (National Capital Region). This is up to 11:45 am,’’ Carreon said.
Carreon said the mandatory drug tests in the bus terminals were being conducted to ensure the safety of millions of passengers trooping to the provinces for the almost weeklong Holy Week break.
PDEA and the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) personnel were on hand to conduct the mandatory drug tests for the drivers and conductors of provincial passenger buses in Metro Manila.
Some commuters have complained of the inconvenience caused by the mandatory drug tests as the bus terminals in the Cubao area have started to be packed.
But passenger Cesar Santos Jr. said “it is worth the wait and the sacrifice as it still a small price to pay to ensure public safety’’.
Carreon noted that according to their agreement with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), drivers who would be tested positive will be immediately brought to the PDEA Laboratory Service for confirmatory testing.
As agreed upon by the bus companies, PDEA, LTO and LTFRB, Carreon explained any driver screened positive will not be allowed to continue driving until the result of the confirmatory test results comes out.
To further explain, Carreon said if the drivers and conductors are confirmed negative for illegal drug use then they can proceed with their trips.
In case the confirmatory drug test results turn positive, Carreon said the drivers and conductors will be subjected to initial intervention through on-site counseling.
Carreon noted the driver’s license of the bus drivers found positive of drug use would be withheld until they are cleared by PDEA and the Department of Health (DOH).