Drug testing for civil servants
posted 27-Jan-2019  ·  
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It is certainly no “tokhang” for civil servants and does not involve a bloody end for government officials and employees who are hooked on illegal drugs.

What Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 13, directing all governor, mayors and punong barangays to conduct mandatory and random drug testing for all appointive and elective officials and employees, promises is the institutionalization of policies for a drug-free workplace as envisioned in Republic Act 9165.

Instead of being targeted by the police in its anti-drug campaign, civil servants will have to prove they are not taking illegal substances by submitting themselves to the drug testing to be conducted by a laboratory accredited by the Department of Health (DOH).

The new regulation offers a way out for the drug addicts in the government as they are allowed to seek proper intervention under an employee assistance program to be implemented by the agency, the employees and their union if there is one, before the mandatory drug test is conducted.

“Such assistance, however, is not applicable to those found positive for drug use after the conduct of confirmatory test,” the DDB regulation stresses.

This means that once an official or employee is found positive for the use of dangerous drugs after the conduct of the drug test, they will be face disciplinary or administrative proceedings with the possibility of dismissal from the service at the first offense.

Such a harsh fate is understandable, as mandatory drug testing remains a requirement for initial entry into the Civil Service.

An appointive public officer who refuses, without any valid reason, to submit himself/herself to authorized drug testing, or is found positive for drug use, shall be charged with the administrative offense of Grave Misconduct, while an elective public officer who does the same shall be subject to disciplinary action for misconduct in office, the new guideline states.

“The public will be ensured of effective and efficient service from the government, free from the ill-effects of drug use in the workplace,” the DDB said.

Thus, all local government units in the province are now mandated to implement their respective drug-free workplace policies, with their Sanggunians supposed to enact their own ordinances regarding the implementation of such policies before the end of February 2019.

Among the 11 municipalities, Virac is probably the most prepared in this regard, as the administration of Mayor Samuel Laynes has already set aside enough funds under its P5-million Peace and Order Plan for 2019. The conduct of mandatory drug testing could prove costly as it has 150 elective and appointive officials and employees, aside from its job order workers which number anywhere from 400 to 600 depending on the availability of funds and the need for extra hands.

Current LGU managers should now take a second, hard look at their respective budgets to ensure there would be enough resources in complying with the new anti-illegal drug measure.

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