MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has joined forces with the private sector in promoting drug-free workplaces in business establishments.
The agency together with 100 private companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Thursday for the implementation of the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA)” program in their offices.
DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. signed the MOU together with 33 signatories representing various companies that include San Miguel Corporation, Lucio Tan Group of Companies, Megawide Construction Company, Alfonso Yuchengo Foundation, Cherry Mobile and Ayala Corporation.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the launch, the DILG chief called on businesses to implement anti-drug policies in their workplaces, which include random drug testing.
“(On monitoring of drug testing), yung mga nakalista (na kumpanya) from time to time, titingnan namin yung mga policy na ginawa nila of course we will be working with Secretary (Bienvenido) Laguesma of the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) that ito naman ay hindi natin sila pinipuwersa, hindi natin pinipilit pero as part of their corporate social responsibility, hindi ba maganda na magkaroon ka ng sariling drug policy sa kumpanya mo (From time to time we will look at the policies these companies included on the list have made and of course we will be working with Secretary Laguesma of the DOLE. We didn’t force them since these are supposed to be part of their corporate social responsibility, wouldn’t it be nice for you to have your own drug policy in your company),” Abalos told reporters on the sidelines of the event held at Quezon City.
Abalos, meanwhile, said it is now up for the companies to deal with employees who will test positive for drugs.
“These kinds of things so this is a whole of nation approach. Bahala ka na kung gusto mo first offense, kung gusto mo reprimand, second suspension, dismissal, it’s up to (them) pero ang hinihingi talaga namin ay yung drug testing. Kung mangyayari yan, lahat matatakot dahil trabaho na yan (It’s up to you if you want a first offense, if you want reprimand, second suspension, dismissal, it’s up to (them) but what we’re really asking for is the drug testing. If that happens, everyone will be scared because it’s their job at stake),” he explained.
He also recommended the formulation of a rehabilitation program by private sector companies for affected employees.
“What if we have a halfway house? It’s a home for those who have been set free after serving their sentence. They will be given training and will be employed eventually. I call on the people, let’s not do branding. Let’s give people who want to change a chance and that is one of the projects that we would want to do with the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology),”
For his part, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the BIDA program is seeking collective actions against illegal drugs.
“This is a very valuable program. First of all, when it comes to this drug testing of employees well somehow it will give some second thought to our citizens who are in the use of drugs and also the BIDA program itself is somewhat promoting awareness to our people, to our citizenship,” Acorda said.
The BIDA program is an intensified and more holistic campaign against illegal drugs to reduce drug demand in the communities.
It will involve the participation of partner national government agencies, local government units, the private sector, faith-based organizations, civil society organizations and barangay officials in the campaign against illegal drugs. (PNA)