THE Philippine Army is investigating its personnel who failed the initial screening of the mandatory drug test conducted on July 5 in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesman, said 13 out of the 2,500 Army personnel from different units and offices failed the initial test and were immediately required to undergo further confirmatory test in an establishment accredited by the Department of Health.
“Everybody was required to undergo the drug test led by our Army commanding general,” Hao said.
The unannounced drug test was held during the conduct of the Army’s morning Taebo exercise on Tuesday.
“The Philippine Army is very serious in its anti-drug campaign. Since we started this campaign, 204 soldiers nationwide were already discharged from the service because of cases related to illegal drugs,” he added.
Hao disclosed that 131 soldiers nationwide were discharged in 2013; 38 in 2014; 30 in 2015; and five so far this year.
“If the confirmatory test is positive, it is enough evidence for us to discharge our personnel. But we emphasized that due process is given to all our personnel based on existing laws and regulations about illegal drugs,” the Army official explained.
Section 36, Article 3 of R.A. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, mandates the conduct of random drug testing to public and private officers for purposes of reducing the risk in the workplace. It also requires the conduct of annual mandatory drug test to all members of the military.