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Ordinance for drug-free workplace passed

By Jason B. Neola NAGA CITY --- A measure recently enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod provides that an administrative offense of grave insubordination may be filed against any official or employee of the city government who refuses, without valid reason, to submit himself/herself for drug testing. City Ordinance 2018-17 was passed and approved by the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod with the hope that it will make the city government’s anti-illegal drug program stronger. Under the ordinance, any official or employee who refuses to undergo drug testing is required to present his/her valid reason in writing to the joint legislative and executive oversight committee within 24 hours why he/she has decided or failed to submit to the drug test. The committee, which is composed of city officials from the legislative and executive branches of the city government, is tasked to monitor and oversee the implementation of the ordinance. The measure, which was approved by Mayor John G. Bongat and Youth Mayor Alyssa Marie T. Borja on May 15, this year, further provides that any city hall worker who, after being tested positive of drug use, refused to undergo treatment or rehabilitation or fails to complete his/her treatment or rehab program shall also be charged with grave misconduct. It was stated in the ordinance that the charge of grave misconduct shall be grounded on the fact that the involved official or employee was tested positive of drug use and not on his/her refusal to undergo or failure to complete his/her treatment. Authored by City Councilor Joselito SA Del Rosario and City Youth Councilor Allysia Mariefrance P. Rodriguez, the measure’s administrative liability and sanctions section also prescribes the filing of grave misconduct against any city official and employee found in a mandatory drug test to have used dangerous drugs while under rehabilitation. Del Rosario said a case of grave misconduct shall also be filed against officials and employees who found to have tampered a drug test result or interfered in the conduct of a drug test or in the release of drug test results. “We are zeroing in on possible reasons that will spare anyone from undergoing drug test so that our common objective and effort to establish drug-free and productive workstations in the city government will not go to naught,” says Del Rosario. He said that it is also stated in the ordinance that contractual and job order personnel who are found to be violated any provision of the ordinance shall be automatically discharged from the service and their contract shall be terminated. “They (discharged contractual and job order employees) may be allowed for reemployment depending upon the recommendation of the committee and the city mayor’s approval, on condition that they have to secure a certificate of completion of their rehabilitation program and clearance from their attending physician that certifies their successful rehabilitation and fitness to work,” he said. Without prejudice to the filing of appropriate criminal case(s) under RA 9165 and other pertinent laws, officials and employees caught using or peddling illegal drugs shall be charged with administrative offense of grave misconduct.

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