Hundreds of local authority staff in the Philippines have tested positive for illegal drugs, it has been claimed.

Widespread drugs testing has been introduced in the country with more than 7,000 government employees asked to give a sample. And according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 303 people working for barangays – the Filipino equivalent of a district or parish council – have failed the tests after drugs were found in their system.

The people who tested positive for illegal substances include two councillors and 172 Barangay Public Safety Officers – low-level police officers who work in local communities – based in Quezon City. Others found to have taken drugs include utility workers and drivers.

Ricky Corpuz, president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC), introduced the drug testing programme to crack down on substance misuse within local government.

He said: “All those who tested positive will undergo a drug dependency evaluation to determine their level of drug use.”

Positive result leads to rehab

The drug test results will be used to encourage those abusing substances to enter some form of rehabilitation. Staff will be given six months to become drug-free but if they don’t manage to kick their habit, they will lose their job.

Mr Corpuz said: “They will be reinstated once they are well but if they are not rehabilitated, they will be dismissed.”

Those involved also face disciplinary action with the two elected councillors being suspended from their duties. Once staff have completed a period of rehabilitation, they will be closely monitored to help them remain drug-free.

AlphaBiolabs offers workplace drug testing to a range of employers in the UK. As demonstrated in the Philippines, initial tests can identify which staff members have taken illegal substances so appropriate action can be taken and they can be offered support to tackle their drug use.

As well as random drug testing, we offer post-rehabilitation tests so the progress of an employee with a substance abuse problem can be closely followed and any relapses will be identified quickly.