The Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that aims for a drug-free public transportation sector.
The MOA, signed by LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar C. Galvante and DDB Chairman Secretary Catalino S. Cuy on behalf of their respective agencies, should clear the country’s roads of public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and conductors who are under the influence of drugs.
In his opening remarks during the Ceremonial Signing, Cuy said that with the assistance of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the support of the Office of the President and the Office of the Executive Secretary, the Agency was granted an additional budget.
The funds will support the drug abuse prevention and control programs of other agencies, such as the LTO, under the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS). The PADS was institutionalized by President Rodrigo Duterte via Executive Order No. 66.
“A part of this budget will be given to your agency, the Land Transportation Office, to augment your resources in the implementation of your drug prevention and control priorities,” Cuy said.
DDB Executive Director Undersecretary Earl Saavedra, for his part, said that MOA will pave the way for the release of funds through a government-to-government cooperation.
About P1.5 million will be granted to the LTO for its anti-drug priority—the development and management of the nationwide drug testing of PUV drivers and conductors.
“It is our fervent hope that the use of this funding and the implementation to be carried out by the Land Transportation Office will strengthen our efforts and measures in winning the campaign against illegal drugs, and establish safe and secure communities for the future generations,” Saavedra said.
In turn, the LTO Chief, Asec. Edgar Galvante gracefully accepted the grant, saying that the amount will greatly help in the conduct of drug testing for PUV drivers and conductors.
“Driving is a special skill. It requires proper and adequate levels of psychomotor coordination. Thus, driving and substance abuse is a lethal combination. There is a need to eliminate this in the equation on road safety,” Galvante said.
“Kahit hindi ninyo kami bigyan ng pondo, we will pursue this program [drug testing]. We assure you that we, at the LTO, are very sincere in thanking you for considering us,” the LTO chief stressed.
He added,” I just want to emphasize, Secretary Cuy, that regardless whether we receive any funds from DDB, we are one with you. We are rooting for the success of your programs. LTO and DDB are one in looking after the kapakanan ng ating mga mamamayan [our citizen’s welfare],” the LTO chief underscored.