6 Zamboanga airport workers fired, 1 probed for shabu use
MANILA — The head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has ordered the immediate dismissal of six workers of the Zamboanga International Airport, and another is to be investigated after they were found to have used illegal drugs during a drug test on Tuesday.
Asked for the names of the seven who tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride during the random drug testing conducted by the agency’s Office of the Flight Surgeon and Aviation Medicine, CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said this was “confidential” information.
CAAP Director General William K. Hotchkiss III said on Thursday, however, that the six whom he had ordered dismissed were job-order personnel or casual employees, while the one facing an investigation by the CAAP’s Hearing and Adjudication Board was a regular employee.
“The other one is a regular employee and will have to undergo due process,” Apolonio explained.
Hotchkiss said the CAAP Nationwide Anti-Illegal Drug Testing Program was in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and the Civil Service Commission’s memorandum circular 13 series of 2010 which calls for a “drug-free workplace.”
Hotchkiss said that he issued a memorandum on March 7, 2013, which “encapsulates” the provisions of the two laws pertaining to the campaign against illegal drugs.
He added that the Philippine Civil Aviation regulation on psychoactive testing and reporting was instituted to ensure that all CAAP employees were “clean of narcotics.”
“These random drug tests are conducted by the OFSAM monthly on our 5,900 employees in the CAAP-managed airports, specifically on those with commercial operations because we do not want the few misfits in our organization interacting freely with the public,” Hotchkiss said.
The abuse of illegal drugs causes “erratic and sometimes violent behavior” in a person who could be “driven to harm other people or even steal to appease the narcotics addiction,” according to Hotchkiss.
In April, out of the 350 CAAP employees from Butuan, Tagbilaran, Surigao and Kalibo Airports who were tested for narcotics use, three from Butuan and two from Kalibo tested positive for shabu.
Last year, out of 1,551 employees who underwent screening, 18 personnel tested positive for the use of illegal drugs. SFM/rga
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