By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Around 800 Negros Occidental provincial government employees and officials underwent random drug testing yesterday.
“Yesterday was just for Capitol-based workers,” explained Provincial Human Resource Management head, Atty. Annabelle Palic. “We will set surprise drug tests for those assigned outside Bacolod City, like in the district hospitals and other projects of the provincial government.”
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson “voluntarily” underwent testing.
“I was found negative,” he affirmed.
Meanwhile, some employees reportedly complained about the condition of the facility where testing was taking place, claiming they were hot and were not allowed to leave.
“Those who complained are worried about something,” the vice governor said. “In whatever manner [drug testing] was done, it will serve a good purpose.”
The move was also supported by the Progressive Alliance of Capitol Employees (PACE) as union leader Venchito Magalona said they had previously requested drug testing, noting, they had earlier received word some government employees were allegedly engaged in illegal drug use.
Palic noted, drug testing is now required of all provincial government employees.
“For new hires, it is a requirement upon entry,” she explained. “For existing employees there is a mandatory drug testing.”
The human resources official said, if an employee tests positive, they will undergo confirmatory tests, along with counseling and rehabilitation.
“If they [commit violations] during rehab, they will be charged with grave misconduct with penalty of dismissal,” Palic stated./DGB, WDJ