Citizens raise concerns over road safety after scrapping of mandatory drug tests

Wenilyn Sabalo
·3 min read

THE scrapping of the drug test requirement for the issuance or renewal of a driver’s or conductor’s license effective Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, has drawn concerns over road safety.

John Kendrick Ceciban, who holds a driver’s license for three years now, said he disagrees with this move as all drivers hold a “very critical” responsibility of ensuring public safety on the road.

“It is critical that when operating any vehicle, a driver must be 100 percent conditioned and focused at all times to lessen the probability of road accidents,” he said.

“Drug users pose a great risk because of the very obvious fact that their ability to focus has deteriorated, increasing the risk of road accidents,” he said.

He said the Land Transportation Office Central Visayas (LTO 7) should devise a system that will keep drug users from operating vehicles, especially public utility vehicles (PUVs), on the road.

Kenneth Feliciano, 30, who has a driver’s license for five years now, said he appreciates the importance of drug testing, especially for drivers of PUVs and other vehicles that transport other people.

“I agree that it (drug test) should be mandatory to ensure public safety,” he said.

More reactions

Reggie Clyde Delosa, 23, was worried that this development could lead to more traffic incidents.

He also said the cost of a drug test should not be seen as a “burden” by applicants, but as an administrative fee.

At the same time, he said drug tests should not be unjustly priced considering that those who need to get a license to be able to drive for a living are from the low-income sector.

Some netizens gave their views in SunStar Cebu’s Facebook post on the matter.

Wendell Tac-al supported the move to scrap the requirement, saying he prefers the conduct of surprise drug tests on PUV drivers.

Randy Adlaon said he is amenable to the drug test requirement, but he thinks the LTO should instead lower the fines and other penalties imposed on violators.

Legal basis

LTO 7 Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec announced the scrapping of the drug test requirement on Thursday night, Nov. 26, based on a memorandum dated Nov. 11 by LTO Chief Edgar Galvante.

Caindec said this is good news to everyone in Region 7 as this new order will reduce the fees for the application or renewal of a license.

He said LTO 7 is the only regional office in the country that has continued to impose the drug test requirement even after this was revoked.

Under Republic Act 10586, or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, the mandatory drug test for license requirement was revoked.

In the same year in 2013, however, Toledo City resident Dulcisimo Tuldanes filed a case questioning the memorandum dated June 27, 2013 that implemented the law.

Tuldanes filed a declaration of nullity of the memorandum.

RTC Branch 59 Judge Hermes Montero granted Tuldanes’ petition and issued an injunction in October 2013.

In 2018, the Court of Appeals 19th Division reversed and set aside the decision of the Toledo City RTC.

A few months later, the no drug test policy was again halted due to the motion for reconsideration filed by Tuldanes.

The appellate court’s decision became final and executory on March 9, 2020.

“In view of the finality of the Court of Appeals decision dated March 9, 2020, all are hereby directed to cease and desist from requiring driver’s/conductor’s license applicants in Region 7 to undergo the mandatory drug testing,” Galvante stated in his latest memorandum.