Random Thoughts

Ferret out drug-users in government

By Leonardo Micua

NOTE that a week after President Rodrigo Duterte exposed 46 politicians in the narco list, Guv Pogi Espino ordered a surprise drug testing on some 300 employees of the General Service Office (GSO).

In that drug test, one turned out positive of illegal drug use! A confirmatory test had to be made on the employee, the result of which–that will come from Manila– will be known after one month.   

It was the second mandatory surprise drug testing conducted among provincial employees. The first was done earlier in July 2016 shortly after the President launched the war on drugs.

In his State of the Province Address (SOPA) before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Thursday, Espino said Pangasinan was the first Local Government Unit in the country to throw its support behind the President in his war on drugs by conducting mandatory drug testing to its employees.

Espino’s Executive Order No. 84 that called for random mandatory drug testing was supported by the SP and passed Provincial Ordinance No. 200-2016.

Then Liga ng mga Barangay Federation president Jinky Zaplan also sponsored a complementary resolution calling on all barangay captains to also submit themselves to mandatory drug testing. Unfortunately, this call fell on deaf ears as Zaplan herself, failed to submit herself to drug testing.

The PUNCH kept on paging Zaplan’s successor, Arth Brian Celeste, son of Alaminos City Mayor Arthur Celeste, now a gubernatorial candidate to do what his immediate predecessor failed to do in the bottom of its first page.

But we don’t know if the new president of the Liga ng Barangay Federation has filed a measure similar as Zaplan’s in support of the war on drugs. He is expected to lead the way by being the first to submit to a drug test.        

Such a move by the Liga is important because before we went to press, a barangay captain of San Carlos City in the watch list was arrested on March 28 by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency with some P5,000 worth of illegal drugs found in his possession.    

Governor Espino is hoping that other LGUs in Pangasinan will emulate what their provincial government has done and will conduct random drug tests among their employees to ferret out the illegal drug user.           

Back to the SOPA, Espino said Pangasinan registered the biggest percentage of accomplishments in terms barangay clearing operations in the entire Region 1. It is 80.49 percent drug cleared at this stage.,

But he is not contented with this. He said he wants all the barangays in the province to be drug cleared to finally do away with illegal drugs.

Incidentally, the province maintains its own Pangasinan Reformation Center located in Burgos town. This multi-purpose facility is being used not only for drug surrenderers but by the youth, especially the out-of-school undergoing leadership training as well. 

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NEWS REPORT–Four more congressmen will be named in the narco pol list. Well, the first three congressmen named earlier in the list need not be sad anymore, four of their peers will soon be joining them in the list.

This means the list is growing bigger and longer!

Add the 31 celebrities reported to be using drugs and you’ll probably see a nation that may now be likely enslaved by illegal drugs.     

With big volumes of cocaine continuously seen floating in our high seas and other big volumes of shabu being intercepted on land, there is a nagging suspicion it will just be a matter of time before we officially become a narco state if the government doesn’t act fast.

The admission of President Duterte that the drug problem in the country has worsened and his policemen are now on the verge of surrendering is worrisome.

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The campaign period for local candidates fires off on March 29. In one city, there was a report that one candidate got the goat the barangay folks by riding on a “garong”, a motorized tricycle attached to a receptacle which they used in transporting pigs!  Ha, ha, ha! Relax guys, this was just written in jest!          

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