Applicants for job at barangay must be tested for drugs: Cosap

COSAP wants applicants for a job in the barangay to undergo a drug test as a requirement for hiring.

Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse and Prevention (Cosap) Head Dr. Alice Utlang came up with the suggestion after discovering that more than a hundred personnel from 58 barangays in the city tested positive of illegal drug use.

As of May 10, 111 out of 1,890 personnel tested positive during surprise drug tests administered by Cosap since January.

Of the number, 71 are garbage loaders, 23 are tanods while 12 are drivers.

Two street cleaners, a traffic aide, a maintenance worker and an electrician also tested positive.

Most of the drug-positive workers are from Barangays Guadalupe, Labangon and Sambag I.

“I suggest that the barangays strictly subject their applicants to a drug test before hiring them. The City Government does that. The officials need to be proactive in making their barangays a drug-free workplace,” Utlang said.

She also recommended that the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council include activities that will ensure that the community is drug-free.

Utlang said that since the beginning of the year, they have been administering drug tests to barangay personnel upon the request of barangay officials. The schedule, though, was decided alone by Cosap.

So far, only two-thirds of the 80 barangays in the city have undergone testing. Barangays Hipodromo and Day-as have not undergone testing since 2014 until recently.

Among those that have undergone testing are Barangays Inayawan, Basak San Nicolas, Quiot, Sambag I and II, Talamban, Banilad, Guadalupe, Labangon, Tisa, Punta Princesa, Tinago, Poblacion Pardo, Tejero and Kasambagan.

Of these villages, only Barangay Banilad was declared by Cosap as a drug-free workplace.

Utlang challenged the barangay officials to strengthen their anti-illegal drugs efforts, starting with an improved information dissemination system.

Those that tested positive will be terminated and will have to seek intervention, may it be by enrolling themselves in Cosap’s We Care program or by availing themselves of private help.

As of present, Utlang said five personnel from Barangay Kasambagan and three others from Barangay Tejero have enrolled themselves in We Care.

We Care provides a three-month intervention and another two-month post-rehabilitation program for drug dependents. It now has close to 100 enrollees.

As for those who tested negative, Utlang said the City will give back their cash allowances.
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