By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Department of Labor and Employment said the drug- free workplace policy of the government is being implemented by a large percentage of private establishments nationwide.
It cited the report of the Bureau of Working Conditions which revealed that of the 59,380 private establishments inspected in 2018, 57,837, or 97.4 percent, are compliant with Department Order No. 53-03, or the Guidelines on the Implementation of a Drug-Free Workplace.
The labor department said the highest compliance rate of 100 percent was recorded in Region 10.
Other regions that posted high compliance rate were Cordillera Administrative Region, 99.9 percent; Western Visayas, 99.9 percent; Ilocos Region, 99.4 percent, and Bicol Region, 98.9 percent.
Other regions with establishments that notably comply with the drug-free workplace policies are Southern Tagalog, 97.9 percent; National Capital Region, 97.8 percent; MIMAROPA, 97.8 percent; and Davao Region, 97.7 percent.
The order requires random drug testing of employees in all establishments in the private sector, including their contractors and concessionaires.
Under the DOLE Drug-Free Workplace Policy and Program, an employee who, for the first time, is found positive of drug use, shall be referred for treatment and/or rehabilitation in a DOH accredited center.
After the rehabilitation, the company’s assessment team may recommend to the employer the resumption of the employee’s job if he/she poses no serious danger to his/her co-employees and/or the workplace.
However, repeated drug use, even after ample opportunity for treatment and rehabilitation, shall be dealt with the corresponding penalties under R.A. 9165 and is a ground for dismissal.
Violations of DO 53-03 may be punished criminally under Article II of RA 9165 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, or administratively under Article 297 of the Labor Code.
The establishment’s compliance with the DO 53-03 is one of the indicators strictly observed by DOLE during labor laws compliance system assessment.