SEN. Ronald dela Rosa yesterday urged the Land Transportation Office (LTO to conduct regular random drug testing among drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) in the light of reports that a lot of drivers recently involved in road accidents were under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the accidents.
Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, cited figures submitted by the LTO showing that 116 bus drivers out of the 4,762 PUV drivers who underwent random drug testing in select regions from July 2019 to February 2020 tested positive for illegal drugs use.
LTO records also showed that of 3,534 bus and jeepney drivers randomly tested in the National Capital Region, 80 drivers screened tested positive for illegal drugs use; 13 of 833 in Central Luzon; 15 of 161drivers in the Southern Tagalog region; two of 69 in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan); and six out of 129 in the Bicol Region.
Dela Rosa said the LTO should imitate what the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been doing in transport terminals to identify drug users and prevent them from getting on the road.
“Dapat ang LTO should take the lead sa proactive efforts. Pumunta sa terminal on the spot, randomly magpa-drug test sa mga drivers. So dapat ‘yun ang pinaka-magandang enforcement nationwide, dapat buong bansa ang gagawin nila (LTO should take the lead in conducting proactive efforts. It should visit [transport] terminals, on the spot, randomly conduct drug tests among drivers. That’s the best LTO can do that should be done nationwide),” Dela Rosa said after a hearing on the rising number of road accidents involving drivers using illegal drugs.
The senator likewise chided LTO director Clarence Guinto for his agency’s lack of coordination with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on the issue of multiple traffic violations.
“Hindi naka-cancel ang kanyang license dahil hindi na-furnish ang LTO ng records nila (A driver with multiple violations still gets to keep his driver’s license because the MMDA does not furnish LTO with its records),” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa also suggested that the national government change the road sign “Ped Xing” which he said causes confusion among pedestrians who do not know that the sign stands for “Pedestrian Crossing.”
“Siguro spell out ‘pedestrian crossing’ talaga kasi ako mismo biktima ako. As I’ve said, na-biktima ako niyan pagdating ko sa Manila. Tinawanan nga ako. Probinsyano eh (Maybe we should just spell out ‘pedestrian crossing’ because even me, I didn’t initially knew what it meant. I became a laughing stock because I don’t know its meaning since I came from the province),” he added.