The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Tuesday, Dec. 7 which would pave the way for the conduct of random and surprise drug tests on the latter’s personnel.
Under the agreement, PDEA shall conduct drug testing to TESDA employees free of charge for dual parameters (methamphetamine and tetrahydrocannabinol).
In the said process, the TESDA employees will be randomly selected from the pool of personnel reporting for work on the day of the drug test.
The agreement was made pursuant to Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular No. 13 Series of 2017, or the “Guidelines in the Mandatory Random Drug Test for Public Officials and Employees”.
PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva expressed appreciation for the initiative of TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña to conduct drug testing among their ranks as prescribed by civil service laws.
Lapeña was a former PDEA chief before President Duterte appointed him as TESDA chief.
“We hope other government agencies will follow TESDA’s lead. All government agencies must be drug-free. This should be the case to ensure an effective and efficient public service free from the hazards of drug use,” Villanueva said.
Likewise, Villanueva noted that PDEA and TESDA forged an agreement that will “properly preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of seized motor vehicles during anti-drug operations that are due for maintenance, preservation, restoration and repair, awaiting the pendency of the cases.’’
Under the MOA, TESDA shall provide technical assistance, manpower and services to PDEA relative to the maintenance and preservation of seized motor vehicles.
The TESDA trainees, under the direct supervision of their respective trainors, shall perform the repair and restoration works.
Provisions under Section 20 as amended by Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002” state that all proceeds and properties derived from the unlawful act, are eligible for forfeiture in favor of the government.
“There is a need to maintain and preserve the condition of these vehicles in anticipation of its eventual forfeiture in favor of the agency,” Villanueva noted.
Apart from crime deterrence, Villanueva said that “the forfeiture of the drug proceeds means acquiring more tools to complement the fulfillment of our mandate in terms of operational mobility.” (Chito A. Chavez)