Capitol example set more than a year ago in drug testing of personnel will soon expand to the entire government sector provincewide.
In July last year, Gov. Edgar Chatto ordered all employees of the provincial government to undergo drug test simultaneous to the establishment of theÂ Bohol Drug Testing Laboratory by the Provincial Health Office.
This time, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved in masse, a resolution urging all officials and personnel of the provincial government, municipalities and barangays, and all other government personnel in the province.
The municipal governments of Dauis, Lila and Panglao went ahead during the present administration.
The call to subject government employees to drug testÂ came in response to reports that of the 1,109 barangays in Bohol, only 22 have been spared in the drug menace.
The provincial officials also expressed alarm at the high turn-out of self-confessed drug personalities in the province who earlier yielded to authorities through Oplan Tokhang that reached around 31,000.
The SP also cited a report from theÂ Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) stating that 98 percent of the entire province has been affected by the illegal drugs trade.
Through the random drug tests ordered by Chatto last year,Â some employees of the provincial government proved positive of drugs, prompting investigation as to their fitness to continue service.
TheÂ Provincial Human Resource Management and Development Office (HRMDO) at the CapitolÂ conducted validation and confirmatory processes on the results with another drug testing center.
The random drug test on Capitol employees last year served as the debut operation of the new drug testing center at the back of the PHO building at the Capitol Annex Compound.
Chatto had earlier warned that contracts of casual employees found positive would no longer be renewed, while the employment of regular employees found positive would be subjected to legal action.
The Provincial Legal Officer already got an instruction from the governor as of last year yet to immediately initiate legal action against regular employees, with the HRMDO and the Civil Service Commission helping in the proceedings.
â€œEveryone must follow the rule and no one is exempted in the random drug tests regardless of relationshipâ€”be it friendship, co-workers, relatives,â€ Chatto earlier warned.
The governor said his administration is serious in ridding the provincial government of illegal drugs.
He said the provincial government had long launched the all-out war against all forms of criminalities, prioritizing the campaign against drug abuse, being tagged as the â€œroot of all evilsâ€.
The new drug testing center of the PHO offers accessible and affordable services for random drug tests of all the employees of the province, and even the private institutions who want to avail of their services.
It also answers the appeal of the private institutions in Bohol for the Capitol to help find a reliable and credible drug testing center so that they could also subject their employees to random drug tests on a voluntary basis, according to Chatto.
The random drug tests and the mandatory drug tests on Capitol personnel which started last year was a way of setting an example to the community as Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II also earlier challenged private companies to also ask their employees to submit for drug testing.
It was in consonance with the earlier appeal of the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
Chatto had earlier warned thatÂ employees found positive of drugs would be â€œdealt withÂ administratively which shall be a ground for suspension or termination, subject to the provisions of Article 282 of the Labor Code and pertinent provisions of the Civil Service Law: Provided, that the Department of Labor and Employment and the Civil Service Commission, as the case may be, shall see to it that this provision is implementedâ€.
Six years ago, theÂ Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) issued the call for government employees to be subjected to random drug tests in the campaign to â€œfight against substance abuseâ€ in the country.
Ridding government offices of drug users could be significant to arouse community support in the fight against drug menace in the country.
There used to be 1.7 million Filipinos into drug addiction when the DDB issued the challenge.
The DDB also cited that conducting random drug tests on public employees is in consonance with â€œArticle V, Section 47, of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002â€.
RA 9165 covers private and public offices with 10 or more personnel in declaring it a policy of the state â€œto promote drug-free workplacesâ€, according to earlier reports.
DDB also cited the legal basis for conducting random drug tests is Article II, Section 36, Paragraph D of the law â€œwhich states that â€˜Officers and employees of public and private offices, whether domestic or overseas, shall undergo a random drug test as contained in the companyâ€™s work rules and regulations, which shall be borne by the employer, for purposes of reducing the risk in the workplaceâ€™â€, according to reports.