Senate wants P20M budget for breathalyzers to curb drunk driving

Senate wants P20M budget for breathalyzers to curb drunk driving

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has allocated P20 million for the procurement of breathalyzers under its version of the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020, Senator Grace Poe said Monday.

“You can have as many trained traffic enforcers on the road, but without the breathalyzers, their hands are tied in effectively apprehending violators,” Poe said in a statement, referring to drunk drivers.

“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,” she added.

(If there’s an accident and the driver is under the influence of alcohol, the enforcer cannot just say that the driver’s breath smells of alcohol. That will not stand in court.)

Poe had earlier pushed for an appropriation for the purchase of the equipment after it was discovered that the Department of Transportation lacked the budget for road safety programs for 2020.

She underscored the need for funding to procure equipment such as breathalyzers, which are used to test the alcohol level of motorists.

The objective findings that can be obtained from the breathalyzers could be the missing piece to a successful prosecution of drunk drivers, Poe added.

Poe said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) only has a handful of breathalyzers use in the field.

“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 stressed.

Poe noted that the use of breathalyzers is also in compliance with Republic Act No. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013.

Under the law, the Land Transportation Office and the Philippine National Police shall acquire “sufficient breath analyzers” for the use of law enforcers and deputized local traffic enforcers nationwide, such as the MMDA.

“We cannot be in a situation in where we cannot enforce the law because we lack the equipment,” Poe said as she expressed optimism that the proposed P20-million budget for the breathalyzers would see through the final copy of the budget law.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are currently deliberating the proposed national budget to come up with the final version which will then be submitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature.