Capitol officials, staff test negative for drugs

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Capitol elected officials led by acting Governor Dennis Pineda and five provincial board members, department heads plus 285 Capitol employees have tested negative for dangerous drugs during last week’s random drug testing.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chemist John Patrick Dela Cruz, in a five page report furnished Sun.Star Pampanga, disclosed that the tests showed negative results.

"Screening exam conducted on specimens PDEA-RO3-RDT016-PC001-300 gave NEGATIVE result for the presence of methamphetamine, THC, MDMA, cocaine and other metabolites," Dela Cruz said.

Methamphetamine is also known as shabu. THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana. MDMA is 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as ecstasy.

De la Cruz said their urine samples "do not contain any dangerous drugs under RA (Republic Act) 9165", or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Law of 2001.

The findings were certified by Virmary Berango, chief of the PDEA Central Luzon laboratory section, who swore to lawyer Rominagrace Yadao for the veracity of the report.

The random drug tests were supervised by PDEA Regional Director Emerson Margate, last November 14 at the Capitol's Executive House.

"The Pampanga provincial government was the first provincial government in the region to request for an unannounced drug test among Capitol leaders and personnel," Margate said.

Pineda said random drug tests aim to help achieve a drug-free work place. Some 1,700 Capitol employees would undergo drug tests in the coming weeks to be able to declare the Capitol fully drug-free.

"I hope local governments would request PDEA to also conduct random tests among their leaders and employees," the acting governor said.

Making and maintaining drug-free places in government and private establishments are part of the Dalan ning Pamagbayu (Road to Change), a comprehensive program that stops the proliferation and use of illegal drugs, helps dependents leave the addiction and develop productive lives, and involves volunteers in making communities peaceful, orderly and prepared for disasters.

Aside from Pineda, Board Members Benny Jocson (First District), Olga Frances Dizon (Second District), Atty. Ananias Canlas Jr. (Third District), Nelson Calara and Rolando Balingit (Fourth District) also tested negative for illegal drugs.

So did Provincial Administrator Andres Pangilinan, Jr. and Pineda's chief of staff lawyer Charlie Chua. (JTD)
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