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PPA-Surigao ‘negative’ in drug test, first GOCC to submit to dope check

Port Manager Mildred Padilla fills up a document prior to her drug test 
while PCI Norman Jovita looks on. Shown in bucket are urine samples collected
 from PPA-Surigao employees and sealed in small plastic cans. (Jun Lira)
By Eugenio "Jun" Lira, Jr.

SURIGAO CITY -- The employees of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), this city, posted a negative result during a surprise drug test conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory, said P/Supt Norman Jovita on Saturday during an interview conducted by members of the media.

He said the drug-testing activity was conducted on July 14, 2016 at the port agency’s main office inside the Port of Surigao where 25 permanent employees voluntarily submitted themselves for the checkup.

“PPA employees were receptive during the drug tests led by Port Manager Mildred Padilla and PP/Supt Froilan Caturla of the Port Police Division. Per records we have, for the entire Surigao del Norte, PPA-Surigao was the first agency belonging to the category of government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to under the said examination. Probably, they are also the first GOCC to do so in Caraga Region”, P/Supt Jovita said.

Port Manager Mildred Padilla disclosed the drug testing activity was in compliance with the new administration’s directive for the mandatory drug testing of all government employees.

“We made the surprise drug tests for PPA-Surigao employees upon the recommendation of PP/Supt Froilan Caturla and everyone in the Senior Staff composed of division managers welcomed it. We’re happy to know the result that all of us were found negative,” Padilla said.

PP/Supt Caturla revealed he made the recommendation for the immediate drug tests of PPA officials and employees after three security guards detailed in the port tested positive for the use of illegal substance known as “shabu” during a series of surprise drug tests conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory on PPA-hired security guards during the period July 5 – 12, 2016.

He said that aside from the three guards who tested positive, another three guards voluntarily confessed of being “shabu users” also.

“Those guards are not employees of PPA. They were supplied to our office by the security services contractor based on the security contract entered by and/or between PPA-Surigao and the said contractor. They were replaced already,” Caturla stressed.

During an interview conducted on July 8, 2016, Caturla said they requested the PNP Crime Laboratory “to ensure that we have credible drug test results. It is because our PPA-hired guards are in the forefront who are in direct contact with the riding public and port clientele who use our ports, hence, the need for them to undergo drug tests considering that usage of prohibited drugs would likely result to mental health problems which may cause anti-social personality disorder that can affect their decision-making and/or public relations.”

PPA-Surigao’s jurisdiction comprise the Ports of Surigao and Lipata in Surigao City; Port of San Jose in Dinagat Province; Ports of Dapa, Del Carmen and Santa Monica in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; Ports of Cantilan, Tandag, Aras-asan, Lianga, Lawigan and Tabon in Surigao del Sur. About 106 guards are deployed in the said ports, it was learned. (FEA/EL)

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