FOUR employees of the Iloilo City government will undergo drug test to confirm whether or not they are drug users, according to retired colonel, Felix Muchada, City Hall’s chief of security.
“I am the administrator of the drop box in the city hall… we have information (that) we have four employees, three regular and one casual, (who are allegedly into illegal drugs),” Muchada said.
The drop box refers to the repository of information from anonymous sources on possible drug users and peddlers inside City Hall. The practice has been frowned upon by human rights advocates, among others, as prone to abuse.
Muchada said the information that the four City Hall employees are into illegal drugs were already validated by the police.
“We will have these four reported persons undergo drug tests, they are already validated…their names are in the list,” he said.
Three of the employees are allegedly users while one is allegedly a “drug runner.”
The City Health Office (CHO) will conduct the drug testing. If confirmed, the employees will face administrative sanctions and will undergo rehabilitation in the city government’s Community Change Center.
The Anti-Illegal Drug Information Box (A-IDIB), known as the “drop box” is placed at the City Hall lobby.
The drop box is intended to solicit information on trade, possession and/or use of illegal drugs and/or names of government employees, persons or group of persons who may have some involvement in any illegal drug activity.
The same drop box is placed in city hall field offices, barangay centers, etc.
No drugs and/or drug paraphernalia were found in city hall offices during the surprise inspection of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-6 at around 9 a.m. of Oct. 12, 2017.
“We plan it one week ago but kept it confidential,” said acting Mayor Joe Espinosa III.
“Three teams of PDEA with K9 dogs inspected city hall offices to ensure that no employee brings in contraband, particularly illegal drugs into the building,” Espinosa said.
“This is the first time that a city hall was inspected by PDEA…this is to show that we lead by example…and a support to the anti-drug campaign of President Duterte,” Espinosa added.
The surprise inspection and the drop box are in line with the city hall’s “Drug-Free Workplace Policy” institutionalized through Executive Order 85 “An Order Institutionalizing the Iloilo City Government “Drug-Free Workplace Policy” and “Guidelines in the Conduct of Inspection and Drug Testing” dated Oct. 2, 2017.
Per EO 85, those who will be found in possession of illegal drugs and/or paraphernalia during the surprise inspection will be subjected to administrative disciplinary proceedings.
Aside from the drop box and surprise inspection, the city hall is also set to conduct random drug-testing. The city’s drug-free workplace policy also mandates drug testing of employees “for cause” or “probable cause” when there is reasonable ground to believe that a random drug test is necessary based on the “person’s attendance, personal appearance, mental factor, general performance, and peer relations.”
Espinosa anchored the drug-free workplace policy of the city hall on the following: Republic Act 9165, Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; Office of the President Memorandum Circular No. 89, Implementation and Institutionalization of the Drug Plan Action; Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 2, Guidelines for the Formulation and Implementation of a Drug-Free Workplace Program and the Conduct of Authorized Drug Testing by All Offices, Bureaus and Agencies of the National and Local Governments and Other Institutes of Learning Including Stage Colleges and Universities; Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 13, Series of 2010, Guidelines for a Drug-Free Workplace Bureaucracy and CSC Memorandum Circular No. 13, Series of 2017, Guidelines in the Mandatory Random Drug Testing for Public Officials and Employees for Other Purposes.