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Monday, June 24, 2024

Random drug tests on bus drivers ahead of poll, Undas exodus

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Authorities on Saturday conducted random drug testing among bus drivers at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) ahead of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) and the “Undas” break.

The test conducted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO), and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) aimed to ensure the safety of commuters using public transportation going to their respective provinces in time for All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

No one among the public utility bus (PUB) drivers and conductors who participated in the random drug test was found positive for illegal drug use.

Meanwhile, the MMDA said it sent around 1,500 traffic enforcers to ensure a smooth flow of traffic and public order during the long weekend.

“We also have Road Emergency Group – our ambulances and road emergency vehicles are ready in case of accidents. These vehicles have extrication equipment and are stationed along the major thoroughfares,” Victor Nuñez, the Director of MMDA’s Traffic Enforcement Group, said in a news forum in Quezon City.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) also deployed around 1,000 personnel to 66 cemeteries in Metro Manila to ensure public safety during the observance of Undas.

“We have implemented what we call FAST, which stands for First Aid Service Team, in 66 locations within Metro Manila to provide medical assistance. We have EMS personnel in each cemetery now, so in case someone faints or has high blood pressure, we have personnel who can immediately respond,” BFP-NCR Assistant Regional Director Senior Supt. Rodrigo Reyes said.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is expecting around 1.2 million air travelers during the village and youth council elections and Undas holiday break.

“In terms of the number of passengers, we’ve already had around 33.7 million for the first three quarters of 2023. This is actually more than the total of the whole of 2022,” said MIAA officer in charge Bryan Co.

“But it’s a very good indicator that air travel is really back. So, in terms of the number of flights, you can see there that it’s a 31 percent increase compared to the same period last year. And if you compare it even to 2019 it’s a different story for the number of flights. We already have more flights for the first three quarters of 2023 compared to 2019,” he added.

Co also assured the public the electrical infrastructure at Ninoy Aquino International Airport is well-maintained and upgraded to prevent power interruptions.

Metro Manila police director Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. said they are in close coordination with concerned government agencies to ensure peaceful and orderly elections and the commemoration of Undas.

DILG Undersecretary for Peace and Order Oscar Valenzuela said they are working with local government units and line agencies to carry out measures as people participate in the elections and flock to cemeteries, columbaria, and memorial parks to visit their departed loved ones.

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