Monday, February 6, 2017

PTC to blacklist drivers, 
tour services into drugs

TAGBILARAN CITY, January 30 (PIA)--If pushed and gets to pass, it would be a hard lesson for transport operators to allow just anybody to drive their tourist transport vans. 

In the wake of tourist transport vehicle drivers getting implicated or nabbed for illegal drug use or pushing, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) has resolved in its December meeting, get stricter on its industry workers, especially those in the frontline services. 

The PPOC has asked the Provincial Tourism Council (PTC) to blacklist not just tourist service drivers but tourist transport companies as well, the moment they or their drivers or workers are implicated in drugs. 

At this, PPOC Chairman Governor Edgar Chatto has urged Boholanos to continue the fight against drugs, himself seeing how pervasive the problem has reached into the core of the Boholano society. 

Over 30,000 Boholanos surrendered to authorities after admitting they are into drugs. 

This too while police authorities are still into finding the remaining drug personalities who have continued their trade and still used the dangerous drugs. 

In December, police operatives and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) apprehended a van driver serving tourists and recovered from his possession illegal drugs he was pushing. 

Weeks ago, two more tourist van drivers fell into the hands of authorities, both of them into drugs and caught in buy-bust operations. 

The capture of tourist front-liners has alarmed tourism stakeholders who connect drugs with accidents waiting to happen.

But the Philippines, through Senator Tito Sotto approved “Republic Act 10586 which expressly repealed the requirement of drug testing for applicants or renewals of driver’s license imposed under Section 36 (a) of RA 9165.

Sotto reasoned out that drug testing to get a license to drive or renew one's permits is a costly and worthless requirement. 

And while the country lifted the requirement of negative drug traces from drivers before they are goven their licenses, Central Visayas still implements drug clearances for drivers. 

An injunction has been issued against the permanent abolition of drug testing for drivers here, Land Transportation Office Chief Erwin Patalinghug. 

As drivers tend to take drugs to keep them awake in long trips, many have assumed that drugs can also be the cause of accidents in over-speeding, delayed responses and hampered spur of the moment driving decisions. 

While the transportation office could not forcefully enforce the mandatory drug testing anymore, the PPOC thinks policing the tourism industry workers should be for sustainable tourism. 

As tourism operators in Bohol have been screening their drivers, it is the small transport providers who could hardly control those who drive their transport services. 

Last week, narcotics agents and the National Bureau of Investigation apprehended two more van drivers for involvement in drug trade. 

And to mainstream the policies for cleaning up the front-liners who would be the tourists first impression for Bohol, the PPOC would be looking over the shoulders of the PTC in making sure there is sustainability in Bohol's vision to become the prime eco-cultural tourism destination in the country. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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