CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija: Alarmed by the report that Nueva Ecija is in the list of provinces with potential narcotics trade connections, officials in this city have crammed the government drug testing laboratory since Monday.
Cabanatuan City mayor Julius Jay Vergara reportedly submitted for a series of weekly drug testing that yielded negative results.
Vice Mayor Anthony Emmanuel Umali also went to the Nueva Ecija Provincial Crime Laboratory Office – alone – after 56 city hall officials and employees took a drug test last week.
Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis of Peñaranda town and president of the province’s Mayor’s League also required its members of 27 chief executives to submit to a drug check.
Supt. Ponciano Zafra, Cabanatuan City police chief, said the city’s 89 barangay officials are set to undergo a random drug test next.
He added that about 1,750 confessed users and pushers who surrendered are yet to undergo drug test.
Nueva Ecija has reported 11,000 drug pusher and users have surrendered.
Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Philippine National Police Region 3 Director, earlier said that at least 10 local officials and police officers in the region suspected to have drug links are included in the next list to be released by President Rodrigo Duterte by the end of August.
Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija Gov. Czarina Umali said that the provincial government is rushing the planned drug rehabilitation center in Peñaranda town under public-private-partnership (PPP) scheme.
CELSO M. CAJUCOM