Port Area drivers test positive for drugs

SEVERAL public utility drivers including truck drivers working in two major ports in Manila  tested positive   when they were subjected to a mandatory drug-testing by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday in Port Area, Manila.

Forty-six of those who were found positive for drugs were 37 delivery truck drivers and nine truck helpers working at the Manila’s North and South Harbors.

PDEA chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino said that overall, 49 truck drivers, nine truck helpers and 11 tricycle drivers were found positive for drugs during the initial screening of their urine specimen. The 49 were among the 5,009 port workers who were tested for drugs during the nationwide implementation of the PDEA’s Oplan: Harabas 2 ‘Drug Test Muna Bago Pasada’.

The drug tests were conducted in major container terminals nationwide, including the country’s two biggest ports, the Manila International Container Port at the North Harbor, Tondo, Manila; and the Port of Manila located at the South Harbor in Port Area, Manila.

Aquino ordered the drug screening to truck drivers operating at the country’s key ports because they operate heavy duty vehicles and are engaged in long distance travels.  

The licenses of the drivers who tested positive for drug use were confiscated by the Land Transportation Office and would only be released to them as soon as they present a clearance from the PDEA that they have already underwent drug treatment and rehabilitation.

The official said that they screened a total of 5,009 truck drivers and public transport workers nationwide consisting of 584 van drivers, 1,507 tricycle drivers, 195 multi-cab drivers, 261 taxi drivers, 616 jeepney drivers, 1,252 delivery truck drivers, 22 habal-habal drivers, 12 local bus drivers, 111 mini-bus drivers, 440 truck helpers, one truck employee, one janitor, one multi-cab operator, five conductors, and one dispatcher.

Being done on a monthly basis, Oplan: Harabas  was started by the PDEA in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No.10586, or the “Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013”, or “An Act Penalizing Persons Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Dangerous Drugs, and Similar Substances, and for Other Purposes aimed to curb road accidents caused by drivers under the influence of illegal drugs.

Drugged drivers have been blamed for the increasing number of road traffic accidents. Based on PDEA’s data monitoring from January 2013 to January 2019, 11,609 drivers, bus conductors, and dispatchers were arrested for violation of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The drug test was a follow up to the successful implementation of the first installment of Oplan: Harabas “Drug Test Muna Bago Pasada,” which was carried out last March 29.