Municipal councilor wants drug tests for elected officials


ADVOCATING transparency among public servants, a former police officer is urging all elected political leaders in a Northern Mindanao to undergo drug tests and lifestyle checks.

Retired Senior Superintendent Benito Ramos said all public officials should be transparent in their dealings in the hope of eliminating narco-politics in the country, most especially in Bukidnon.

Ramos, a former training director of the Philippine National Police’s Regional Training School and presently a municipal councilor of Kalilangan town in Bukidnon, even subjected himself to a drug test at the PNP crime laboratory recently to set an example.

He said he was alarmed at the significant presence of the illegal drugs in the province and the rampant use of the illegal substance in his hometown.

“I want to take the lead, for the new elected public officials to be open and be transparent with their dealings and lifestyle,” Ramos was quoted as saying.

Data provided by authorities last year indicated that 114 out of the 464 villages in Bukidnon have the presence of illegal drugs and even the possibility of an existing drug laboratory somewhere in the province.

According to Regional Prosecutor Jaime Umpa, about 94.5 percent of the 20 towns and two cities in Bukidnon have drug problems.

Last year, Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. kicked out 12 town police chiefs on suspicion that they have been receiving bribes from the drug syndicates operating in the province.

As part of the change of the government that presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Roa Duterte will introduce is for the elected officials to come forward and start the drug examination and be part of the change that the new administration will initiate, Ramos said.

All government units, he added, must start the mandatory random drug test for all their employees to rid the institution of drug dependency within the bureaucracy.

“We must start the change from ourselves, local governance must be purged from the scourge of illegal drugs, we cannot serve the public if we have ties with drugs,” Ramos said.

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