Se­nate adds ₱20 mil­lion for breath­a­lyz­ers to DOTr’s bud­get

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By VANNE ELAINE P. TERRAZOLA

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

driv­ing.

"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.

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