2 Minglanilla hospital nursing aides test positive for drug use

TWO nursing aides at the Minglanilla District Hospital tested positive for illegal drugs during a surprise drug test yesterday.

Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) head Carmen Durano-Meca said 67 hospital personnel underwent the test upon the request of the Provincial Health Office (PHO).

Dr. Rene Catan, PHO head, said they submitted the names of the two employees to the Provincial Administration Office. The latter and Dr. Elvira Grengia, hospital chief, will decide on the two employees’ fate.

“Dugay na mi nagduda ana nila (We’ve long suspected them),” Catan said, adding that the two always avoided taking a drug test.

He said yesterday’s activity was planned in secret so the two couldn’t avoid it.

As in previous cases, regular employees who test positive for drugs are investigated by the committee on discipline and investigation. But for job-order employees, their services are immediately “cut off” and their contracts are either terminated or not renewed.

In Mandaue City, Mayor Luigi Quisumbing tested negative for illegal drugs.

The mayor submitted himself to the test before a four-man team of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 led by Assistant Director Wardley Getalla yesterday morning.

According to the City Public Information Office, Quisumbing had told PDEA 7 Director Yogi Felimon Ruiz that as the local chief executive, it was important that he go first.

“It is very important for me to have a drug-free city and if we do that we have to start with (the) City Hall. However, I promise City Hall employees one thing, I will not ask them to do anything that I am not willing to do myself,” Quisumbing told reporters.

City Hall employees now have no reason not to submit themselves to a random drug test, he said.

Quisumbing said PDEA 7 had advised him to get an accredited drug testing center to conduct the test.

The City Health Office and the Mandaue City Hospital do not have the capability to conduct a drug test, he said.

If a job-order employee tests positive for illegal drugs, the City can immediately fire him or her. Regular employees have to go through a process with the Civil Service Commission.

“The reason for all of this is we want to manifest the very strong support for the anti -drug campaign of the president. It is very important that if we are to conduct any drug testing in the city that should start with me,” Quisumbing said.

In a related development, CPADAO is gaining headway in its crisis intervention program, or “control and rehabilitation on substance abuse (COR-SA),” Meca said.

She said 20 local government units (LGUs), or 40 percent of 50 Cebu LGUs, are involved in the program, which started in the last week of July.

The implementation of Oplan Tokhang, where police knock on the doors of suspected drug pushers and users and plead to them to stop their activities, has resulted in thousands of drug surrenderees.

The Provincial Government is helping them through COR-SA.

As of Sept. 2, 72,297 had turned themselves over in Central Visayas.

Meca said COR-SA has three phases: phase I is profiling, screening and assessment of surrenderees; phase II is a barangay-based treatment program for surrenderees; and phase III is drug-proofing the barangay.

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