Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday appealed to all elected officials and city employees to undergo drug tests as he is willing to also have himself subjected to one.
Leonardia said he has requested City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan to draft a memorandum requesting all elected officials and employees of the city to undergo drug tests and work together with the City Health Officer.
He said the CLO believes they can compel the employees to undergo drug testing while he can only appeal to the elected officials to subject themselves to one in order to clear Bacolod because he would like to believe that all city officials are drug-free.
Leonardia said that maybe because of their co-equal status, he cannot compel them, but he will strongly appeal to the elected officials to undergo the tests because they would like to project that Bacolod is clean.
“That is my expectation. But I cannot say with conclusion because I do not know. We will only know once the drug tests are done,” he said.
Anything in government will be subject to the availability of funds. But if there is a need to request for a supplemental budget for the conduct of drug testing he is willing to ask for it,” he added.
Councilor Cano Tan, earlier, said he is planning to author a resolution requiring city employees and officials to undergo drug testing.
Councilor Renecito Novero said he has no objection even if the drug test will be made mandatory. “I think that is a good crusade or program because it stands in line with the program and advocacy of the new President. We also know the kind of havoc illegal drugs had brought to several families especially to those who have been affected,” he said.
Novero said they have been very strict and consistent in their advocacy against illegal drugs and if it has to start with them, he is in favor of the program of the mayor. And if he makes it mandatory for elected officials he has no problem with that, he said.
Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. said he supports the move 100 percent especially if it will involve all employees, elected or appointed.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said that, according to Bacolod City Police director Senior Supt. Flynn Dongbo, there were 523 drug users and pushers who have voluntarily surrendered and they have also visited about 293 houses in Bacolod from July 1 to 12.
The National Bureau of Investigation, as well as the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group also came so he asked them about their involvement in the illegal drugs campaign, he said.
Leonardia said he was told by the head of the CIDG that they are augmenting the Philippine National Police in the campaign, while the NBI also coordinates with the PNP, but their targets are the big fishes or the financiers.*CGS
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