10 SouthCot provincial employees facing dismissal over drugs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 7 June) – At least 10 employees of the provincial government of South Cotabato are facing possible dismissal from service after yielding positive of using illegal drugs in random tests.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chair of the South Cotabato health and safety board, said Tuesday such development was based on the results of the initial round of random drug tests conducted among employees of the provincial government.

He said two batches of employees coming from various departments, offices and units of the local government were subjected to the “surprise” drug tests.

“So far, 10 have turned out positive (of illegal drug use). But these results will still undergo confirmatory tests,” he said in an interview over radio station Brigada News FM in Koronadal City.

Aturdido, who also heads the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said the confirmatory tests will either be conducted in Manila or at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

The official said a number of the employees who failed the drug tests yielded positive of using methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

He said they were composed of both job order (JO) and regular or permanent plantilla workers.

“The fate of the JOs will be on the discretion of the governor (Daisy Avance-Fuentes). For regular employees, we will follow the standard processes,” Aturdido said.

The provincial government pushed for the conduct of the random drug tests as part of its efforts to make its workforce totally drug-free.

The governor endorsed the move after five local government employees were found involved in various illegal drug activities last year.

The five workers were eventually dismissed from service for allegedly using and peddling illegal drugs, specifically shabu. Four of them are casual and contractual workers while one is a permanent employee.

In April and June last year, two provincial government employees were arrested by operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 12 and the South Cotabato police for their involvement in the illegal drug trade.

The two, who were nabbed in separate buy-bust operations, were assigned at the Provincial Engineer’s Office and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.