Mandatory drug tests proposed for private employees in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/08 Oct.) – A proposed ordinance requiring mandatory drug tests for private establishments with at least 10 employees has been filed at the provincial board of Surigao del Norte.

Provincial board member Fernando T. Larong said the drug tests showing the employees to be drug-free would be among the requirements for the issuance or renewal of a business permit.

The proposal is now on first reading.

“We want to have a drug-free workplace in Surigao del Norte. Everybody hates drugs,” Larong said to downplay speculations the ordinance could trigger adverse reactions from the business community.

In an interview on Monday after the regular session, Larong quoted Senior Supt. Erwin Ogario, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency regional director as having said that the drug problem in the province has continued to rise.

Ogario told MindaNews in a phone interview today that this year they have seized more illegal drugs compared to previous years.

He added more suspects have been issued arrest warrants, and they have conducted more successful raids.

“These are indicators that the drug problem in the province is on the rise and we need to come up with solutions,” he said.

Ogario said 106 of the province’s 335 barangays are affected by the proliferation of illegal drugs.

He said the proposed ordinance will help minimize, if not totally eliminate, the drug problem.

He said he got a copy of a similar ordinance from Davao City and mailed it to the local government units in Caraga Region, which covers the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Dinagat Island.

Larong said the proposed ordinance is based on Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Department of Labor and Employment Department Order No. 53-03 of 2013.

He added it is patterned after the city ordinance of Davao which was passed this year.

“If this ordinance will be approved, Surigao del Norte would be the 2nd local government unit in the country to adopt it,” he said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)