LGUs may tap peace and order funds for officials’ drug testing
MANILA, Philippines — Local government units may use funds allocated for peace and order for the random drug testing of their officials should they choose to require it.
Cavite 4th District Rep Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who proposed that legislators down to the barangay officials be made to undergo random drug testing, admitted that such proposals usually faced the problem of funding.
“We always say that finding a source for funding is the problem. But if LGUs really want to implement it, the monetary requirements are not that high,” Barzaga, speaking in Filipino, said in an interview aired over AM radio DZBB.
“They can get funds from their budgets for peace and order because this involves peace and order, especially in relation to our public officials,” he added.
Mandatory drug testing could restore the faith of the public in their leaders — and it would show support for the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, Barzaga pointed out.
This would also be a “preventive and remedial” measure for government officials.
“If you want to be a public official, you should not use illegal drugs,” the Cavite lawmaker said. “If you are already a public official and you’re using drugs, it’s time for you to rethink and voluntarily rehabilitate yourself.”
DILG urged to order mandatory drug tests
While there is no law yet providing for mandatory drug tests for public officials, Barzaga urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to issue a department order or a memorandum circular seeking mandatory drug tests for local executives.
He said a memorandum issued by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año would be “valid” as LGU officials were directly under the President and the executive department.
“The President has power, control and supervision over LGU officials. One circular from Secretary Año would be valid,” he said.
The DILG can also issue an order to LGUs to earmark a certain percentage of their funds for drug testing down to their barangay officials, he added.
Barzaga further insisted that the department had the power compel LGU officials to undergo drug testing by warning them of possible suspension or termination from service should they refuse.
He cited the recent road clearing operations ordered by the DILG, under Memorandum Circular 121-2019, which warned local officials that they could face suspension or even termination should they fail to clear their roads within 60 days.
“So the DILG also has the power to tell local officials that they are required to undergo drug testing. If found positive, they will be subjected to whatever disciplinary actions are warranted under the circumstances,” he said.
“And if they refuse to undergo drug testing, they can be suspended or even terminated from service,” he added.
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