Illegal drug use still rampant among barangay workers

THE use of illegal drugs among Cebu City barangay workers is still rampant, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said.

His statement came after a total of 50 workers tested positive during the separate surprise drug tests conducted by the Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse and Prevention (Cosap) in 11 barangays in the past weeks.

Tumulak, who is the deputy mayor for police matters, met yesterday with the barangay captains whose employees were caught using illegal drugs.

Although he asked them what their plans are for the workers, Tumulak said it will still be up to the barangay officials what sanction to impose.

“They themselves confirmed that they suspect that those workers who tested positive for illegal drug use are really into it based also on the reports of their neighbors,” Tumulak said.

In an interview, Basak San Nicolas Barangay Captain Norman Navarro said that he will remove from service those who tested positive.

But he will only do this once the confirmatory test result is out. “If they are found positive again, I will just hire new ones for their replacements,” Navarro said.

The barangay will allow the workers to undergo a rehabilitation program while they are not in service and once they test negative after, they may be allowed to go back to work, Navarro said.

In Barangay Basak San Nicolas, seven garbage loaders tested positive for illegal drug use.

Other barangays with workers who are illegal drug users include Guadalupe (16), Labangon (7), Poblacion Pardo (6), Pahina Central (4), Suba (3), Punta Princesa (3), Kinasang-an (2), Quiot (1), Cogon Pardo (1) and Santa Cruz (1). Tumulak said that barangay officials were also asked to monitor where their workers get the supply of illegal drugs and report it to authorities.

“This will serve as an eye- opener for workers to stop the illegal drug use because the City Government will not stop the drug tests,” he added.

Under City Ordinance 1829, all City Hall workers and officials are required to undergo an annual drug test. An amendatory ordinance was approved by the Cebu City Council in August 2016 to include barangay officials and employees. police , firefighters, and jail officers assigned in the cityin the compulsory drug test as a pre-employment requirement.

Dr. Alice Utlang of the Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention said the drug tests were part of their efforts to support the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte against illegal drugs. Utlang encouraged other barangays to also submit their workers to a drug test.
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