PDEA eyes pact with LTFRB, TNVS firms vs ‘drug deliveries’

By , on September 29, 2017

FILE: Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. (PNA photo)
FILE: Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. (PNA photo)

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is pushing for the crafting of memorandum of understanding between the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), operators and drivers of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) in a bid to prevent them from becoming unwitting conduits for the transport of illegal drugs.

This was bared by PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino on Thursday.

Aquino, together with LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra, met the operators of Grab and Uber to address growing concerns of their drivers being used by drug dealers in delivering the said contraband.

The schedule for the MOU signing is tentatively set on the second week of October, he said.

Aquino suggested to the operators of TNVS – Grab and Uber – to open packages sent through their drivers in order for them not to be used as unwitting drug couriers.

“To Grab and Uber operators and drivers, please exercise due diligence to prevent your line of work from being tainted with involvement with illegal drug activities,” Aquino said in a statement.

Both representatives of Grab and Uber who were present during the meeting supported Aquino’s suggestion.
Aquino also encouraged Grab and Uber operators and drivers to help enhance intelligence efforts by reporting information to authorities.

“Report suspected packages directly to us,” Aquino said.

The PDEA chief issued such proposal following the arrest of Jovit Atillano, a suspected ecstasy dealer admitted that he has been hiring the services of TVNS drivers to deliver packages containing illegal drugs to his on-line clients.

The suspect, who yielded 500 pieces of party drugs and other illegal drugs worth PHP1 million, was arrested by PDEA agents on Sept. 19, in his condominium unit in Mandaluyong City.

Last Monday, the House of Representatives’ Dangerous Drugs Committee is considering the conduct of an investigation into the alleged unwitting involvement of transport network vehicle services’ (TNVS) drivers in the trafficking of illegal drugs.

Committee chair Robert Ace Barbers said he has received media and police reports of TNVS drivers, such as Grab and Uber, becoming susceptible to being used as couriers in this new scheme of drug trafficking.

“What we’ll do is to call a motu proprio investigation on the alleged involvement of Grab and Uber drivers in the trafficking of drugs,” Barbers said.

Rep. Barbers said his committee will look into the policy and system of the transport network companies in their parcel or document delivery, and see if there is a need to enforce strict guidelines on such express deliveries. (PNA)