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Central Visayas LTO finally scraps drug test requirement for driver’s license

Drug tests are no longer required to get a driver’s license in Central Visayas, the regional Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced on Friday, November 27. 

"This is good news to everyone in Region 7 because this new order will reduce the fees of the public once they renew or apply for a license in our offices," said LTO Central Visayas chief Victor Emmanuel Caindec.

The order was based on a memo from Land Transportation Office chief Edgar Galvante.

Galvante’s memo was dated on November 11, but was only received on Thursday, November 26.

"In view of the finality of the Court of Appeals decision dated 09 March 2020, all are hereby directed to cease and desist from requiring driver's/conductor's license applicants in Region 7 to undergo the mandatory drug testing," the memo read.

The drug test, however, had already been scrapped in all LTOs across the country, because the requirement was revoked in 2013, under Republic Act No. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013. 

Senator Vicente Sotto III, principal author of the law, said that they scrapped this requirement because drug tests were a waste of money as they were “ineffective.”

“The mandatory drug test has become a waste of money for motorists as well as an ineffective requirement, citing data mined from the Department of Health and the Dangerous Drug Board,” Sotto said then.

Why did Central Visayas continue to require drug tests?

After the law was passed, Toledo City resident Dulcisimo Tuldanes filed a complaint and questioned the order implementing the scrapping of the requirement. 

LTO Central Visayas said it was following the order of in Toledo City Regional Trial Court Branch 59 Presiding Judge Hermes Montero in Toledo City. He granted Tuldanes' petition and issued an injunction in October 2013.

In 2018, however, the Court of Appeals 19th Division reversed that decision.

Why did it take two years after CA decision to scrap drug tests?

According to LTO Central Visayas, Tuldanes appealed the CA, leading to the resumption of the drug tests. 

The appellate court upheld its decision with finality in March 2020, allowing the drug test rule to be scrapped in Central Visayas. 

"We are happy this issue was finally resolved in court,” Caindec said. “This is a welcome development and a big help because expenses for those applying for license will lessen.” – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.

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