Better to require drug testing

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014


GERARD DE LA CRUZ, son of a Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) official figured in a fatal vehicular accident in Salinas Drive, Lahug Saturday morning. He admitted having drank liquor before he was about to fetch his father at the casino.

Not only that. He tested positive for drug use. A confirmatory test is being done in Camp Crame.

De la Cruz, 28, rammed the motorcycle ridden by the co-employees of his father. Killed on the spot were slot machine attendants Joselito Lopez and Gaudioso Bontilao.

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He admitted having a drinking spree with friends hours before he went to pick up his father, a supervisor of the casino. He said he fell asleep and did not notice that his car had gone to the other lane and rammed into the motorcycle and into a mahogany tree. He was not harmed because of the air bag in his car. Two others persons were injured.

De la Cruz was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and damage to property. As of this time, the families of the victims have refused to amicably settle the case.

The incident is a classic example of reckless driving. In my case, I am a defensive driver. I want to avoid traffic accident because I already experienced it once.

A few years back, my Honda Civic was bumped by a motorcycle driven by a drunk person.

After the driver's license of the culprit was withheld by the traffic division for 15 days, the driver came to me and apologized. He admitted he could not pay for the damages because he was just a carpenter.

Without my car's insurance, I could have shelled out thousands of pesos to fix the damage caused by the reckless driver. He kneeled before me. So I forgave him after giving him a little tongue-lashing and reminding him “not to drink when you drive.”

This is one of the possible risks when abusive and reckless drivers are in our midst, especially now that the submission of drug test results is no longer a requirement in applying for or in the renewal of driver's license.

Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Alfonso Tan has reiterated the memorandum circular issued by his predecessor, Virginia Torres, dated June 27, 2013 stating that a drug test result is no longer a requirement in securing or in renewing driver's licenses as this has been repealed with the passage of the Republic Act No. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013. This despite the preliminary mandatory injunction imposed by a court in Toledo City which temporarily stopped the implementation of Torres’s memorandum.

LTO 7 Regional Director Arnel Tancinco said that their stand to stop the drug test is in view of the opinion of the Solicitor General.

However, there are still LTO districts that demand the submission of drug test results. Tancinco said they are monitoring these districts and could charge them with defiance. But there are also applicants who prefer to undergo drug test for other purposes. They can use this for their employment.

Some say drug test is useless because drug addicts will not use drugs when they are scheduled to apply for or renew their licenses. But did you know that there were more than 16,000 combined applicants from 2009 to 2012 who were denied the issuance of licenses because they were found positive for using drugs? This is based on data from the Department of Health.

So, with this new LTO policy, any Tom, Dick and Harry can be issued a driver's license even if they are high on drugs when they to the LTO offices to apply for or renew a driver’s license. Bisan nagpuwa ang mga mata makakuha gihapon og lisensiya. Mas kuyaw na hinuon ni.

Though submitting a drug test result is an additional financial burden to applicants, it’s good to require them to undergo it so we can be spared of reckless and drugged drivers. Life is more expensive than that P300 drug test fee.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 09, 2014.

Opinion

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