Mindanao Times

Cotabato City employees test positive for drug use


COTABATO CITY – Some city government employees here have tested positive for drug use after a recent mandatory drug test conducted by anti-narcotics personnel, an official said.

One of the regular employees who tested positive went on absence without official leave and later arrested during drug buy-bust operation by the city police.

At least 10 other workers have shown signs of drug use and the urine samples taken from them are still undergoing confirmato­ry tests, said Rolen Balquin, city public safety office chief, on Monday.

The city government has about 2,200 employees and more than 90 percent of them have undergone a surprise drug test last Oct. 16, 2019.

“Only those who were on sick leave or vacation leave or official travel have not undergone the process of drug testing,” Balquin said.

Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi earlier ordered the mandatory drug test to ensure the city has a “drug-free workplace”.

“Drug dependents have no place in the Cotabato City government,” Sayadi said in a separate interview.

Kidapawan Xmas parties suspended due to quakes

Meanwhile, Christmas parties and other celebratio­ns during the yuletide season in the city government have been canceled by Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Evangelist­a while the city is trying to reel off from quake damages.

Evangelist­a issued Memorandum No. 3717 directing all department heads of the city government to forego all scheduled Christmas events that would be uncalled for while the city is trying to rebuild the damages brought about by the series of strong tremors last month.

“By canceling Christmas party celebratio­ns, the city government is showing empathy with the quake victims, including city civil servants,” the mayor said in his memorandum issued on Friday.

Instead, Evangelist­a urged city government employees to share their blessings to residents adversely affected by the calamity, especially those whose houses were shattered by the tremors.

Most department offices have been moved out of the four-story city hall due to the possibilit­y of collapse during aftershock­s.

Offices are now located at the city gymnasium as local government employees fear reporting back to their former offices in the city hall.

Evangelist­a also ordered a total ban on drinking liquor inside evacuation camps in the city “to prevent untoward and unnecessar­y incidents inside shelter areas.”

The city continues to experience jolts that range from magnitude 1 to 3 with the epicenters traced to Makilala or Tulunan, both in North Cotabato, which hosts fault lines.

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