15 bus drivers test positive for drug use

THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) said 15 bus drivers tested positive for drug use and were barred from leaving their terminals to ferry passengers to the provinces as the Holy Week exodus continues.

LTO Law Enforcement Unit Chief Ed Cabase said 13 of the bus drivers were caught in Cebu while one was caught at the Araneta bus terminal in Quezon City and another at the Sampaloc terminal in Manila after being subjected to random drug testing as part of the government’s campaign to promote safe travel this Lenten season.

Cabase said aside from being barred from driving, the said drivers may also face other penalties, including suspension, as well as charges before the court.

The random drug testing was initiated by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) last year during the Undas and Christmas season.

Cabase said they are being assisted by personnel from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in the conduct of the random drug test, as well as in the inspection of the roadworthiness of passenger buses nationwide.

DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas said three buses were also barred from leaving the Araneta terminal after two of them were found to be colurom while another one was also found to be unregistered.

A total of 35 buses were inspected at the Araneta terminal while 72 units were subjected to the same test in Cebu. Roxas said all the Cebu buses tested passed though there were some minor defects that were immediately corrected by their owners.

Last Monday, authorities also barred six buses from leaving Metro Manila after they failed the safety tests.

In a related development, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that more than half a million passengers had passed through major ports in the country since the launch of the safe travel campaign last week.

Roxas said 41,718 passengers passed through the Batangas port alone in a two-day period or from March 31 to April 2 compared to 21, 990 from April 16 and 18 last year. (AH/Sunnex)

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