MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte-The Department of Public Works and Highways Southern Leyte Engineering District (DPWH-SLED) is seeking the opinion of Secretary Rogelio L. Singson on what actions to take against the 23 employees that were found positive of illegal drugs use.

In a letter to Singson dated Aug. 19, 2015, District Engineer Ma. Margarita C. Junia wanted to know of “what is best decision” for the 23 employees.

Despite putting her safety at risk, the district engineering office chief felt the need to do this to achieve a drug-free workplace and raise the productivity of workers.

“Lately, these addicted engineers had contributed to the low performance of this Office because due to their addiction, their work performances were erratic and unreliable, thus their output were erroneous and needs to be reworked,” Junia said.

On Aug. 17, all of the more than 200 personnel of the field office went through a surprised drug test inside the district office multi-purpose building.

Staff from a private drug testing center based in Ormoc City approved by the Department of Health for the specific activity and agents from the National Bureau of Investigation came to facilitate the drug test.

“We were told that those who are taking some medicines may be found positive in the drug test. The confirmatory test in Manila will tell us if all of these 23 personnel are really illegal drug users or not,” Junia said.

The district engineer pushed for the mandatory drug testing after agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) caught a DPWH-SLED employee for illegal drugs trade on March 1. The suspect alleged that the drugs were intended for government engineers.

“That claim is alarming because it brought shame to our district office. We also heard rumors that some personnel have been using illegal drugs, which calls for our immediate action since it affects productivity, decision making, and safety concerns,” she added.

Early this year, Junia asked some personnel to undergo drug test and submit the result, but she doubted that the findings were accurate since the method was done through urine samples only.

The mandatory drug test was part of DPWH-SLED’s drive to increase awareness on the harmful effects and dangers of drug use and abuse in the workplace. (PNA)