PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents yesterday led the simultaneous mandatory drug-testing of bus drivers to ensure the safety of passengers traveling to the provinces during the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
Yesterday morning, PDEA officers subjected bus drivers, conductors and other personnel of the Jac Liner and Philtranco in Pasay City and the Partas and Five-Star Bus Terminal in Cubao, Q.C. to a surprise mandatory drug test and K-9 sweeping.
PDEA chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino said they have launched the program to ensure the safety of passengers, especially those who are going to their provinces during the “Undas” and at the same time prevent illegal drug traffickers from taking advantage of the influx of people and operations in busy public utility terminals to transport illegal drugs.
Aquino said long trips, particularly by provincial drivers, may be detrimental to the safety of the passengers due to fatigue. “Thus, the possibility that the bus drivers use illegal drugs to counter fatigue and keep them alert cannot be discounted.”
The PDEA chief said that any driver who refuses to undergo the mandatory drug test and those who will test positive will be endorsed to the Land Transportation Office for proper action.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has placed on heightened alert its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals and other ports nationwide amid the ongoing influx and exodus of large number of international passengers who are vacationing during the Undas holiday break.
BI Commisssioner Jaime Morente said he issued an alert directive and directed BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina to take measures to prevent human trafficking syndicates from taking advantage of the holiday break to spirit their victims out of the country.
Morente also cited intelligence reports that international human smuggling syndicates might use the occasion to again use Manila as a transit point for illegal aliens who want to enter countries where they want to settle and work illicitly.
Medina, for his part, assured that BI officers manning immigration counters have been told to be extra careful and be meticulous in screening arriving and departing passengers. Medina likewise assured the public that “lines will remain manageable despite the surge,” attributing it to their added manpower and use of electronic gates.
With Willy Balasa