PDEA conducts surprise drug test on port truck drivers
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conducted on Thursday simultaneous surprise drug tests on truck drivers in major container ports nationwide.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said they launched the operation dubbed “Oplan Harabas” in coordination with other government agencies in an effort to reduce the demand for illegal drugs and promote drug-free workplaces.
In a chance interview at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) where the PDEA was also conducting drug tests, Aquino said some truck drivers resort to using illegal drugs to stay awake during long trips.
“Ang nagiging problema kasi ay ‘yung length ng kanilang pagda-drive. Hindi nila kaya. Maliban doon, kokonti silang nagda-drive so minsan nagagamit ang isang driver continuously for three days,” Aquino said.
(The problem here is the length of their driving time. They cannot do it. Aside from that, there are few drivers so sometimes a driver is required to work for three days.)
“So if you are doing that, of course, you are weak. Ang tendency is gumamit na ng iligal na droga. And then once na naumpisahan na nilang gumamit, sunod sunod na ‘yun. They will be addicted to these drugs,” he said.
(If you are doing that, of course you are weak. The tendency is for them to use illegal drugs. Drug use will continue once they try it for the first time. They will be addicted to these drugs.)
“PDEA finds it necessary to subject cargo truck drivers to drug screening because they operate heavy duty vehicles and are engaged in long distance travels. There is a prevailing practice of drug use among the driving population to stay awake for long trips,” Aquino said in a statement.
“We are also doing this to keep track of long haul drivers under the influence of illegal drugs,” he added.
As of posting time, two truck drivers already tested positive for drug use, according to Aquino, who also said PDEA is planning to conduct regular drug tests in major container ports.
He said drivers who refuse to undergo mandatory drug test would be reported to the Land Transportation Office, while those who test positive would have their driver’s licenses confiscated pending clearance by the PDEA.
Personnel of PDEA’s Preventive Education and Community Involvement Service were on hand to give counseling and facilitate the rehabilitation of drivers found positive for illegal drug use. (Editor: Cenon B. Bibe Jr.)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.