MANILA — A total of 303 Quezon City government personnel were found positive in recent drug testing, QC Anti Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC) chairperson and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte announced on Tuesday
Topping the list were 172 barangay public safety officers (BPSO) or “tanods” have tested positive.
The number forms part of the more than 300 barangay officials and employees which all tested positive for drug abuse based on the June 22, 2016 result submitted by QCADAAC.
“This is very alarming considering that BPSOs are the force multiplier of the police in ensuring peace and order in our communities,” Belmonte said,.
Aside from the BPSOs, also tested positive are two kagawads(village councilors), 52 street sweepers or ‘paleros,’ seven barangay health workers, 15 drivers, 15 utility workers, 10 community brigade workers, 11 barangay staff, one member of the task force on youth development, three from the violence against women and children, eight from the lupon ng tagapamayapa (peace council) and seven fire volunteers.
As of June 22, of the city’s total 142 barangays , 106 underwent the drug testing. The figure represents a completion rate of 74.64 percent.
At the press conference, Belmonte disclosed that a sizeable amount of the supplemental budget of the city government would be set aside for the building of additional infrastructure for drug rehabilitation.
According to Belmonte, the request for increased funding was necessary in order for the city government to effectively implement its drug treatment and rehabilitation program, including construction of additional rehabilitation centers for drug dependents in each of the city’s six districts.
She said the city government, through QCADAAC, was spending at least Php400 a day to rehabilitate a drug user.
“This is a big investment for Quezon City,” the Vice Mayor said.
Earlier, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista unveiled the city government’s plan to build more rehabilitation centers to accommodate suspected drug personalities in the city who had agreed to voluntarily surrender to authorities and pledged to stop any involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Belmonte also disclosed that the Department of Health (DOH) has already approved the request for additional beds at the Tahanan, or the QC Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Payatas.
“Our request for additional 150 beds has already been approved by the DOH,” said Belmonte.
To date, the Tahanan has an existing bed capacity of 150. Sammy Martin/PNA/northboundasia.com