Twenty-five out of the 377 towing firm personnel tested positive for drug use, the Metro Manila Development Authority said on Wednesday.
MMDA towing group chief Victor Nuñez said the drug test was conducted for accredited towing firm personnel in line with the agency’s new policy to stop extortion and other illegal activities involving towing crewmen.
Nuñez said those who tested positive for drug use cannot renew their accreditation or apply anymore from MMDA-accredited towing firms; their identification cards have also been confiscated.
Apart from the mandatory drug test, the towing personnel will also undergo seminar, and diagnostic examination. A smoke emission test would likewise be conducted on all tow trucks.
MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos said these procedures are prerequisites for accreditation and would ensure that only qualified and decent people will be allowed to operate tow trucks in the metropolis.
“We need to cleanse the ranks of tow truck operators. Those isolated unscrupulous incidents are hurting the image of MMDA, since we are the one issuing the accreditations,” he said.
In June last year, 54 towing personnel had tested positive for drugs, while 24 were also found out to be using drugs last January.
Carlos said those towing personnel found to be using illegal drugs were immediately terminated by their respective companies and were put on blacklist and are now banned from entering the MMDA impounding area.
He urged motorists to report to MMDA any illegal acts committed on the road either by agency personnel or employees of private towing companies.
Carlos said motorists should also list down the details of the towing personnel such as the plate number of the truck, the place, and date they were towed or take pictures as evidence if they want to contest.
Two weeks ago, the MMDA suspended the accreditation of Arcson Towing Services following the complaint of Kristen Ann Uy Baron who claimed that two men took the keys of her car because it was illegally parked at Savemore Broadway in Quezon City.
Baron said the two men asked P4,000 from her in exchange of being impounded at Ultra in Pasig but she refused.
At present, there are 30 accredited towing firms while more than 100 tow trucks operating in the metropolis.