25th April 2011
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Five of 50 bus drivers in Eastern Visayas who underwent random drug testing last week tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Monday.
Julius Navales, PDEA regional director for Eastern Visayas, said the random drug tests were conducted Tuesday last week.
“It only confirmed our suspicion that some of our bus drivers, specially those who are plying the Metro Manila-to-the provinces routes are using drugs just to keep awake during the entire long haul of travel,” Navales said.
It takes around 22 hours of travel from Metro Manila to Eastern Visayas.
The PDEA, in coordination with the Land Transportation Office regional office, took urine samples from 50 bus drivers at a checkpoint located along Maharlika Highway in Tacloban City to determine if they were using any prohibited drug.
The drivers’ licenses of the five who tested positive for shabu were confiscated by the LTO. However, Navales did not identify the five drivers.
According to Navales, the drivers would be recommended by his office to undergo drug rehabilitation.
“The LTO will also write a communication to the bus companies where these drivers are working for them to impose sanction on these drivers,” Navales said.
He explained that the purpose of the random drug testing activity was to ensure the safety of the passengers.
“We want to ensure that our drivers are not using prohibited drugs while they are driving especially those coming from Metro Manila to Eastern Visayas,” Navales said.
Navales said that the PDEA would continue to conduct random drug testing among bus drivers in coordination with the LTO.