One-time license revocation for drugged drivers sought

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker is pushing for the immediate revocation of the driver’s license of motorists proven to be engaged in illegal drug use.

Former Police Chief and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa wants the measure to be a ‘one-strike’ policy to ensure the protection of the riding public.

“Kapag nahuli ka na positive ka sa drug use, nagdadrive ka, once lang iyan. Hindi na mauulit, to give teeth sa ating batas (Once you’re caught driving and proven positive of drug use, that’s it. You don’t get a second chance. This is to give teeth to the law),” Senator dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa raised the proposal during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.

Among the resource persons at today’s hearing was Rene Villapando, father of Grade 8 student Jules Villapando who died after he was rammed by a passenger jeepney in Makati City last month.

The driver-suspect confessed he was under the influence of illegal drugs.

Sana hindi po ito maging ningas-kugon na sinasabi kasi bago lang kaya may ginagawa (I hope its implementation will be sustained and not short-lived), Rene said.

“Huwag na na nating hintaying mangyari sa mga anak natin ang nangyari sa amin (Do not wait for your children to suffer the same fate as my child),” he added.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) explained that based on the current law or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act (R.A. 10586), the license of drugged drivers may be confiscated and revoked only on the third offense.

Based on the agency’s data, from about 4,000 public utility drivers who take random drug testing, about 116 tested positive for illegal drug use.

The LTO noted that one possible reason for such a number is because drug testing is not required when a driver applies for a license.

Also, there is no interconnection between the databases of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and other traffic law enforcement agencies.

In fact, until now only the cities of Valenzuela and Parañaque are connected with their database.

And based on an MMDA report, there was even a bus driver who has committed offenses about 500 times but managed to resume operation.

“The MMDA has that no-contact apprehension and it takes time for them to transmit their violations to LTO because of the connectivity issue,” explained LTO Director Clarence Guinto.

Senator Dela Rosa wants the driver’s record of drug use to be indicated in the new license card and if he or she has undergone a rehabilitation program.

Senator Francis Tolentino agreed with Dela Rosa’s proposal as it would signal establishments that the license owner had been a drug user.

“Ang driver’s license kapag hawak ng driver, pupunta sa bangko. Nakamarka na iyon (A driver uses his license every time he goes to the bank so [his record] is marked on the card),” Tolentino said.

The two senators, likewise, called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to intensify its program in maintaining a drug-free workplace across the country. – MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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