MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Council has passed an ordinance requiring tricycle and pedicab drivers to undergo drug testing.
Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte immediately gave assurances the Quezon City Anti-Drug Advisory Council will be closely working with tricycle drivers associations to prepare for the ordinance’s implementation.
Even before the ordinance’s passage, the city government, with the help of the associations, had already been implementing programs to deter drug use among public utility vehicle drivers.
“Bago sila magpa-drug test, magkakaroon muna sila ng Drug Abuse Prevention Education,” Belmonte was quoted as saying in a statement from city government’s public affairs office.
She said it is important to make the drivers understand why drug tests are necessary.
“Ayaw naman natin ma-stigmatize sila. Dito sa (We don’t want to stigmatize them. Here in) Quezon City we don’t treat drug dependents as bad persons. We treat them with compassion. Karamihan kasi sa kanila nabibiktima lang ng mga circumstances sa buhay (Most of them are just victims of their life circumstances),” she stressed.
The drug test will be a condition for the approval of franchise applications.
“Failure to comply with the random drug testing shall be an assumption that the driver/operator is positive for the use of illegal drugs,” while those found positive for drug use will be prohibited by their organization presidents from plying their routes until they complete rehabilitation, the statement said.
Aside from possible criminal cases, those who test positive may also face civil liability and a P5,000 fine.
The results of the tests will be forwarded to the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council.
The Quezon City government has allocated P7.5 million from the 2018 budget of the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council. The allocation will then be yearly.