THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday launched a program that would mitigate illegal drug use in the workplace through random drug tests and rehabilitation.

Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos told a livestreamed event his agency had signed a deal with more than 100 private companies.

Under the agreement the companies will enforce protocols such as random drug tests to discourage illegal drug use. “If employees participate in these drug tests, the war on drugs in the workplace will change, which I assure you we will win.”

Mr. Abalos said the deal stems from past collaborations between the state and private sector at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in testing workers for the virus.

Workers who refuse to get tested for drugs face company sanctions, he added.

Earlier this month, the DILG partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), along with the Department of Health to reduce illegal-drug use and demand at the local level.

Citing government data from July 1 to Dec. 8 last year, Mr. Abalos said almost P10 billion worth of illegal drugs had been seized from anti-illegal drug operations.

Last year, he said the drug war would be “as intensive as before, prioritizing the rule of law when conducting drug operations.”

On May 7, the DILG declared at least 17 municipalities in the Zamboanga Peninsula in southern Philippines drug-free. — John Victor D. Ordoñez