IN A move that surprised many, the Cagayan de Oro City Council on Monday, September 11, suspended its weekly session to allow anti-narcotics agents to perform drug tests on all councilors.
Led by Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin Uy, all the councilors present voluntarily submitted themselves to the drug tests administered by two Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) personnel.
Only Councilors Teodulfo Lao and Enrico Salcedo were absent in the drug testing
Councilor Romeo Calizo, chairman of the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac), said the City Government has allocated an estimated P1.2 million for the mandatory drug testing of the 6,119 City Government employees, including barangay officials.
Calizo issued a stern warning to employees that refusal to submit to drug testing could be grounds for termination.
"Dili pwede mo-refuse, kung mo-refuse, pasabot ana, wala na silay katungod manerbisyo, and that can be grounds for termination. And if mo-insist sila na dili gyud, citing human rights concerns, I say it is a law, and the law is ought to be obeyed. Unsa may katungod nimo manerbisyo kung dili ka law-abiding? Ma-dismiss gyud na sila sa serbisyo," he said.
"Walay rason ang empleyado na mo-dili, kay balaod man kana," he added.
Calizo said the city hall employees will be tested anytime.
Uy, meanwhile, welcomed the Cadac's move, pointing out that this has long been planned by the council.
Uy said a resolution was passed last August 6, 2016 for the conduct of the illegal drug test but was not realized immediately due to budget constraints.
"As approved, ako mismo ang nag-una pinaagi sapagpakita nga nisuporta kita sa kampanya sa atong Presidente Duterte sa illegal na droga," he said.
Councilor George Goking, meanwhile, said he decided to voluntarily submit to drug testing to set an example to the public.
"Maayo man, it's a very good move, it's a sample for other to follow that we are a drug-free City Hall, as city councilors, we should set an example kay how can we promote na drug-free ta, atong workplace, atong Cagayan de Oro, if we won't start with ourselves?" Goking said.
The results of the drug tests will be in tomorrow but the Calizo said he will announce it next week, Monday, September 18.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) requires public officials and employees to undergo drug testing, in support of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
In an order dated March 15 but released only April 19 this year, the CSC said it is the mandate of the 1987 Constitution and the Administrative Code of 1987 to ensure that morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy shall be widely observed, to ensure that government service shall be drug-free as provided by the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
The memo covers all public officials and employees but will not include contract of service or job order employees.
In the event that an employee tests positive, he has the option to challenge the result, but failure to file a challenge, appropriate actions shall be taken by the local government,
He would also undergo a drug dependency examination and shall be subjected to a rehabilitation program.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 13, 2017.