Mayor, dads lead in drug testing

The city mayor of Dumaguete is leading all officials elected and appointed, to undergo voluntary and random drug tests if only to entice the rank and file to do likewise.

This came close to the heels of a massive antiillegal drug campaign and in the wake of over 700 surenderees of self-confessed drug users and pushers in Dumaguete during the last two months.

City Mayor Antonio Felipe Remollo believes that the city officials must take the lead to claim moral ascendancy in preaching against the use of illegal drugs. Nevertheless, she urged the administration to proceed with caution in the manner of conducting the tests to ensure that the constitutional rights of the individuals against self-incrimination, right to due process and right against illegal searches and seizures are upheld.

Incredibly as of August 12, Dumaguete only yielded 622 users and 58 pushers. Looc Bgy Capt Estelita Ragay and Daro Kag. Jovencio Tan announced Dumaguete has a potential of 5000 users and all 30 barangays are affected or influenced.

Councilors Joe Kenneth Arbas, Manny Arbon and Lilani Ramon pledged to voluntarily undergo drug tests to set an example for the lower ranking employees to emulate, which will finally address persistent rumours that several city hall employees are allegedly hooked with the illegal vice.

Ramon even recalled that she authored an ordinance in her first term providing for random drug tests to all city officials and employees to ensure a drugsfree workplace but the policy was never implemented.

Councilor. Karissa Tolentino believes that despite some reservations, the city government can compel all officials and employees upon taking the oath to uphold the law which include the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (RA 9165).

There had been an “unspoken cat-and-mouse” chase of those suspected drug users within the ranks of city hall employees in that there appeared to be reluctance in undergoing random and mandatory drug tests.

The human rights aspect came up in that nobody can be forced to incriminate himself thru drug testing which process might find out the hard truth.

The city council also debated as to the human rights aspect although the house rules as employees prevailed.

They said that as employees, the employer-government has the right to require its workers to be free from drugs thus, the drug tests.

It is like getting a police clearance which if one has a police record of a pending arrest, might just incriminate the applicant who attempts to get a police or NBI clearance. But this procedure is not a violation of human rights, it is part of complying with requirements as an employee. And so is drug testing.

The act of harboring a criminal is a crime itself, just like concealing a crime of illegal drug use is.

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