Press Release
March 2, 2016


Vice-presidential frontrunner Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero will push for mandatory drug testing among civil servants--from president down to the lowest clerk--should he and his presidential running mate Sen. Grace Poe get elected in May, as he warned that all state workers involved in illegal drugs will be dealt with severely under the law.

Escudero said the compulsory drug testing of all public officials and employees, especially those seeking elective positions, will ensure that government agencies are drug-free zones.

"Hindi dapat random lang 'yan. Kung tatakbo at magsilbi ka sa pamahalaan, dapat lamang na sumailalim ka sa mandatory drug testing at simulan natin 'yan sa pinakamataas na opisyal hanggang sa pinakamababa," Escudero told a recent radio interview in Tuguegarao City.

Fighting drugs is high on the agenda of Poe and Escudero, who are both running under the banner "Gobyerno may Puso," and both have publicly stated that they intend to declare illegal drugs a threat to national security threat.

They were particularly alarmed by recent drug statistics showing that some 1.8 million Filipinos were considered drug dependents, as well the seizure of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals and non-drug evidence worth P6.18 billion by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in 2014.

According to Escudero, they will involve all government agencies in the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking

"Itinuturing namin na threat to national security ang problema sa illegal drugs. Kami lang yata ni Sen. Grace ang nagsasabi niyan at kailangan namin ng tulong ng lahat ng ahensya ng pamahalaan para masolusyunan ito," Escudero said.

The veteran lawmaker said they will begin the intensified anti-illegal drug campaign in government workplace by weeding out public officials and employees who are involved in drugs.

He said they plan to establish a drug-free government, and that drug addicts and drug traffickers will not be tolerated in public offices.

"Ang mga empleyado ng gobyerno na nasasangkot sa iligal na droga ang uunahin naming sampulan sakaling mahalal kami ni Sen. Grace," Escudero said.

"Hindi lamang sila dapat matanggal at maparusahan, dapat bawiin din ang kanilang mga ari-arian kung mapatunayang galing ito sa illegal drugs," he added.

Escudero said the Poe administration will also tap the barangays in the fight against illegal drugs by strengthening the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council or BADAC.

The Philippines has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine use in Asia, with an estimated 960,000 or about 2 percent of the adult population using the drug popularly known as "shabu," data from the UN Transnational Crime Report in 2013.

According to PDEA, around 20 percent or 8,400 of the country's 42,000 barangay are drug-affected, meaning they host a user, pusher, producer or cultivator or other drug personality.

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