By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA – A party-list lawmaker is pushing for the deputization of more enforcement officers to implement the law against individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs.
In a statement on Wednesday, Bicol Saro Party-list Representative Brian Raymund Yamsuan said the number of personnel from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) remains insufficient in implementing Republic Act (RA) 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act, making the law ineffective in minimizing road crashes and other accidents.
Yamsuan said the law should be amended to make it mandatory for the LTO to deputize select officers from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government units (LGUs).
He said better enforcement of the law would help ensure road safety and help educate drivers on the perils of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“One life lost to drunk or drugged driving is one too many. The number of deaths from drunk or drugged driving-related accidents could have been minimized, if not totally prevented, had we have more officers on the streets to conduct roadside operations especially during the holidays when cases of driving under the influence significantly increase,” Yamsuan said.
Yamsuan cited Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista who has expressed concern over the 11,000 deaths recorded annually in the Philippines because of road crashes due to drunk driving, overspeeding, texting while driving and human error.
He also cited data from the PNP Highway Patrol Group showing that the number of road accidents caused by drunk drivers rose to 59 incidents or at least 90 percent in November 2022, compared to 31 recorded in the previous month of the same year.
He said the LTO’s Law Enforcement Service-Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Enforcement Unit responded to 402 road crash incidents from January to August 2022, wherein 353 of the drivers involved tested positive for alcohol intoxication.
Aside from deputizing more officers, Yamsuan also stressed the need for the LTO and its deputized agencies to procure enough sobriety and drug test kits to effectively enforce the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act.
“The reason the law was enacted was to ensure that drunk and drugged drivers do not get to harm others when they take the wheel. What we need is express action when it comes to apprehending them. Our law enforcers need to have the proper equipment necessary to do their job right and quickly get these irresponsible drivers off the streets,” he said.
These proposed amendments to effectively enforce the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act are stipulated under House Bill 7968.
The bill shall also mandate the LTO to regularly conduct random inspections in public utility vehicle (PUV) terminals and do quick random drug tests among PUV drivers.
The measure aims to integrate road safety and drivers’ education into the K-to-12 curriculum to help instill in the early stages of a child’s development the value of exercising extreme caution on the road and warn against the devastating effects of drunk or drugged driving. (PNA)