PDEA, LTFRB, TNCs ink pact to beef up war vs illegal drugs

MANILA -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and transportation network companies (TNCs) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of agreement to intensify its all-out campaign against illegal drugs in the country and prevent the use of public transport in delivering illegal drugs.

The signing took place in a ceremony held at the PDEA Activity Area, PDEA National Headquarters in Quezon City on Wednesday.

Realizing that drug syndicates have exploited the use of transport network vehicle services (TNVS), the PDEA, LTFRB and TNCs signed the MOU to stop this new trend of drug trafficking, PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said.

Aquino said drug syndicates now use TNVS or mobile-based application of TNCs to deliver their illicit goods concealed inside packages right at the doorsteps of their intended receivers.

Under the MOU, the parties have committed themselves to interdict and prevent the transportation of packages containing illegal drugs using drivers/operators of TNVS, identify and report timely intelligence information for the purpose of anti-drug operations; and implement applicable policies on drug-free workplace in the TNCs premises to ensure that operators with existing contracts with Uber, My Taxi.PH and U-Hop are not involved in any illegal drug activities.

Among the provisions stated in the agreement, PDEA shall take the lead role in the conduct of overall investigation, arrest and subsequent filing of drug cases in cooperation with LTRFB and TNCs. Also, PDEA shall map out plans in the prevention of the drug delivery and conduct trainings/seminars to contracting parties relevant to the anti-drug law.

The signed agreement among PDEA, LTFRB and TNCs is a step forward in achieving a new partnership that would suppress the use of TNCs drivers from being exploited as unknowing drug couriers and finally put a stop to this emerging drug trend, the PDEA chief said.

On the other hand, LTFRB pledged to facilitate any programs and activities for the effective implementation of the MOU; encourage TNVS operators/drivers to undergo PDEA trainings to be integrated into the LTFRB Drivers' Academy Training; provide sanctions and penalties to TNVS operators or drivers who shall violate any policies issued by LTFRB; and provide legible decals and/or stickers with PDEA and LTFRB Hotlines to all TNVS operators/drivers.

Aquino said that under the MOU, the TNCs shall communicate with partners and drivers on the dissemination of the detailed PDEA contact information for the speedy relay of criminal and other suspicious activities to authorities.

Also, the TNCs agreed to exercise due diligence in the selection and hiring of their drivers by requiring the submission of additional identity requirements such as NBI, Police and Barangay Clearances.

TNCs shall design a mechanism by which all items for delivery shall be properly marked with the name and complete address of the sender and the consignee to be recorded by the drivers, maintain a record of parties' transactions under Uber, My Taxi.PH and U-Hop subject to the provisions of the Data Privacy Act, among others.

Aside from Aquino, the other signatories were LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III, and key officials of country-based TNCs, namely Laurence Cua, general manager of Uber Systems Inc.; Brian Matthew Cu, country head of My Taxi.PH and Nicolas Jose Laude III of U-Hop.

Source: Philippine News Agency