The new chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Negros Occidental Provincial Office said he hopes to implement random drug tests on taxi and public utility vehicle drivers in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.
Guilbert Sumalangcay said they have entered into a memorandum of agreement with taxi operators in Iloilo who have agreed to have their drivers undergo drug testing and they could also apply it here.
He hopes the program will be accepted by the government agencies concerned, and the taxi and PUV operators, in the province for the protection of their business and the riding public.
Bacolod Councilor El Cid Familiaran, chairman of the Sangguniang Committee on Police, Security and Jail Management, said there is a MOA supposed to be implemented last July or August yet but because of a revamp in the PDEA, so the implementation was delayed.
Familiaran said he hopes the random drug test on taxi and PUV drivers will be implemented this time with the new PDEA head.
The result of the drug will be confidential and no cases will be filed against drivers found positive for drugs because the intention is to give them a chance to undergo rehabilitation and to reform them, he said.
Investigation agent 1John Carlo Daquiado said there are no highly organized drug syndicates in Bacolod City and the supply being brought in usually come from Mindanao, Cebu, and some from Manila.
Meanwhile, Sumalangcay said that, aside from conducting operations against prohibited drugs, they will concentrate on demand reduction which is preventive education especially among the youth community to keep them from using in the illegal substance.
He said they also want to establish barangay intelligence networks in Bacolod and conduct seminars for tanods and kagawads who chair the Committee on Peace and Order, to teach them how to gather information on illegal drugs activity.
Sumalangcay also said they plan to make their office in Bacolod City functional and community-friendly and, at the same time, be involved in community service, like feeding programs or tree planting activities, to make their presence felt in the city and the province.*CGS