Senate adds ₱20 million for breathalyzers to DOTr’s budget
The Senate has allotted an additional ₱20 million to the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) proposed 2020 budget for the purchase of breathalyzers, Senator Grace Poe said Monday.
Poe said the Upper Chamber adopted her proposal to allocate funds for the procurement of breathalyzers next year to prevent road accidents caused by drunk
"There has to be money for breathalyzers because they could prevent drunk drivers from plying the highways and causing mishaps that could endanger lives," Poe said in a statement.
The senator said the additional budget would comply with Republic Act 10586, the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, which states that the Land Transportation Office, as well as the Philippine National Police, shall acquire “sufficient breath analyzers” for the use of law enforcers and deputized local traffic enforcers nationwide.
For instance, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which is in charge of managing traffic in the metropolis, only has a handful units of breathalyzers that they use in the field, Poe lamented.
"We cannot be in a situation in which we cannot enforce the law because we lack the equipment,” she added.
Poe first moved for the increase in the DOTr budget during a hearing last October when Undersecretary for Road Transport Mark de Leon admitted that the agency has zero funds for its road safety programs for next year.
This, after the law abolishing the graft-ridden Road Board also removed from the motor vehicle user's charge (MVUC) collections for the allocation for road safety programs.
Poe said she hopes that the P20million budget for breathalyzers will see through the final copy of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which the bicameral conference committee has started tackling.
In urging her colleagues, Poe stressed anew the importance of procuring such instruments in preventing and prosecuting road mishaps.
"You can have as many trained traffic enforcers on the road, but without the breathalyzers, their hands are tied in effectively apprehending violators,” she said.
“Kung may aksidente at lasing ang driver, hindi pwedeng sasabihin lang ng enforcer na amoy alak ang driver. Hindi ito titindig sa imbestigasyon o sa korte (If there is an accident and the driver is intoxicated, the enforcer cannot just claim that the driver reeked of alcohol. This will not stand in court)," she added.
The Senate and the House of Representatives expect to come up with a final version of the 2020 budget next week to be submitted for the President's signature.