The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has recently issued guidelines to ensure that government agencies remain drug-free for the effective and efficient delivery of public services.
In Resolution No. 1700653 dated March 15, 2017, the CSC stated that drug testing shall remain a requirement for initial entry to government service and those found positive for drug use shall not be hired or appointed.
The CSC also said that, as a condition for retention in service, incumbent public officials and employees shall be subjected to a mandatory random drug testing within six months from the effectivity of the guidelines. Subsequently, government agencies must conduct periodic drug testing in an interval not to exceed two years.
Formulated in consultation with various concerned government agencies, CSC Resolution No. 1700653 covers all government officials and employees, excluding officers and members of the military, police, and other law enforcement agencies who are subjected to a different set of rules. For job order and contract of service hirees, a drug use policy clause must be included in their contracts.
In conducting the mandatory drug test, government agencies must observe the procedures prescribed by the Dangerours Drugs Board (DDB), which shall include but are not limited to the following:
a. The drug test shall only be conducted by a government drug testing laboratory or by a drug testing laboratory duly authorized and accredited by the DOH;
b. The randomly selected public officials and employees will fill up and sign a chain of custody form issued to them;
c. The specimen bottles must be properly labelled and taking of specimen samples for screening test must be done in an area where manipulation (e.g. adding of water) is not possible; and
d. Specimen samples found positive in the screening test shall be submitted for confirmatory testing within the same day.
The head of office/agency or his/her designated person shall notify the official or employee of the positive result from the confirmatory test, and the latter has 15 days from receipt of notice to challenge the result. Failure to file a challenge within the prescribed period shall make the positive drug test result from the confirmatory test final. A positive result from the challenge test is likewise deemed final.
Any government official or employee who tested positive shall undergo a Drug Dependency Examination to be conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) or by any of its accredited medical practitioners to determine whether he/she falls under the category of Experimenter, Occasional User, or Chronic User/Drug Dependent.
An Experimenter shall be required to undergo guidance counselling for six months, while an Occasional User must undergo guidance counselling and monthly drug testing for six months. The official or employee concerned shall shoulder the expenses, and if such activities were done during office hours, the time spent shall be charged against his/her leave credits.
The official or employee must secure a certificate of completion from the attending guidance counsellor which will serve as proof of successful completion of the intervention program.
Within 15 days from receipt of the Drug Dependency Exam results, a Chronic User/Drug Dependent shall undergo mandatory continuous treatment and rehabilitation for at least six months in a government rehabilitation center, a DOH-accredited private rehabilitation center, or through a community rehabilitation program sanctioned under DDB rules. The official or employee concerned shall shoulder the expenses and time spent for the treatment shall be charged against his/her leave credits.
Such official or employee shall not be allowed to return to work without securing first a certificate of completion of his/her rehabilitation program and clearance from the attending physician.
Officials or employees who refuse, without any valid reason, to submit themselves to drug testing shall be charged with the administrative offense of Gross Insubordination, which could lead to suspension from the service on the first offense and dismissal for the second offense.
Officials or employees who have tested positive and refuse to undergo treatment or fail to complete their intervention program shall be charged with Grave Misconduct, which could result in dismissal from the service on the first offense.
Likewise, those found to have used dangerous drugs during the prescribed period of intervention or treatment shall be charged with Grave Misconduct.
Also liable for Grave Misconduct are officials or employees who have tested positive in a random drug test for the second time after completion of treatment or rehabilitation, and those found to have tampered with the result of a drug test, or have interfered in the conduct of a drug test or in the release of results.
Any government official or employee caught using or peddling drugs at any time shall be charged with Grave Misconduct and may also be charged criminally under Republic Act No. 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act) and other pertinent laws.
CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala said that these guidelines support the government’s campaign against illegal drugs by ensuring that civil servants are free from the hazards of drug use and are physically and psychologically fit to render public service.
“This policy seeks to achieve a balance between imposing stricter rules on public servants and regarding drug use as a condition that can be treated or recovered from. On one hand, there will be rigid and more frequent drug testing in government as well as additional grounds for administrative liability. On the other, public servants are afforded a chance at reformation so they can become more productive human resources of the government and the nation,” Chairperson Bala said.
The complete text of CSC Resolution No. 1700653 can be accessed from the CSC website at www.csc.gov.ph.