30 gov’t employees in South Cotabato fired for drug use

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 August) — At least 30 job order or contractual employees of the provincial government of South Cotabato have been dismissed from service after being found positive of using illegal drugs.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Tuesday she issued the dismissal order based on the results of the random drug tests administered by the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO).

She said most of the terminated workers were found positive of using methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

“We dismissed outright all involved job order workers,” the governor said in an interview over radio station DXKR.

The provincial government launched the random drug tests last month as part of its efforts to cleanse its ranks of drug users and those possibly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Aside from the 30 job order workers, 10 other regular or permanent employees of the local government were found positive of using illegal drugs, particularly shabu, in the initial round of the random tests.

Fuentes said the erring permanent workers are now undergoing administrative proceedings after also failing the confirmatory tests.

She cited that the involved employees could face termination from service based on civil service regulations.

The governor said the process for the termination of regular employees involved in illegal drugs are now faster if evidences, like the test results, are in place.

“They will be subjected to summary hearings or proceedings leading to their termination,” she said.

Fuentes said the local government will continue in the coming days with the surprise random drug tests.

The provincial government opted for the random instead of the mandatory tests to prevent erring workers from preparing for them, she said.

She clarified that a negative result does not guarantee than an employee is already “off the hook.”

“If there will be some changes in their behavior that points to possible illegal drug use, they will immediately be subjected to another test,” she said.

Fuentes said the job order workers who would fail to undergo the test without any valid reason will be issued with “show cause orders” and their contracts will not be renewed.

If they skip the test with valid reasons, she said they will undergo the same in another schedule. (MindaNews)