Lorenzana, Año not exempt from drug testing of security forces
Not even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana or Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are exempt from being tested for narcotics use in the campaign of the Department of National Defense (DND) to ensure the country’s security forces remain drug-free.
The AFP chief of staff ordered all uniformed personnel and civilian employees in all military facilities to abide by the DND’s recently approved drug-free workplace policy.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Año said: “I am directing all Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and Civilian Employees of the AFP to affirm their commitment to unconditionally abide by the rules provided in the DND Circular 13 or the Comprehensive Drug-Free Workplace Policy.”
On July 17, Lorenzana issued a circular requiring all personnel, including applicants or outsourced workers, to undergo annual mandatory drug testing as a requirement for their retention in the defense establishment.
According to Año, the circular also provides the administrative procedures to be undertaken should any of the DND or AFP personnel test positive for use of illegal drugs or be found violating any other provision of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Penalties include dismissal or termination from government service for civilian employees, discharge from the military service for enlisted personnel, and separation from the service for military officers.
“The DND Circular requires all persons in decision-making positions from the secretary of national defense to all generals and flag officers of the AFP, down to division chiefs of the DND and all its attached bureaus to undergo the annual drug test,” Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said.
Arevalo added: “Drug testing will be part of the requirements for promotion, schooling, and designations to key positions of all our members in the military, including our civilian employees.”
Año maintained: “As we continue to support our administration’s thrust against illegal drugs, it is only appropriate that all of us in the Armed Forces of the Philippines are drug-free, and in the best physical, mental, and psychological condition.”
The AFP chief added: “This [drug testing] will ensure that no one in the rank and file of the AFP is a drug dependent. It will manifest that AFP personnel are role models of discipline and propriety as public officers.” /atm
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