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18 Cebu tour guides positive for drugs

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By Lesley Vestil

Cebu City – Eighteen of the 425 tourist and canyoneering guides in Cebu were found positive of drug use during a surprise drug test conducted Tuesday by the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPAO) in partnership with the Badian police station.

Badian police chief Bonifacio Pareja said the tour guides were asked to go to the Badian Sports complex supposedly to claim their IDs and certificates for the training session they attended last January.

Once the guides were inside the complex, its doors were closed and CPAO personnel began to administer the test.

Badian Municipal Tourism Officer Donald Villarin said Badian Mayor Carmencita Lumain ordered the tour operators to fire the 18 guides who tested positive and not to rehire them.

If the operators rehire the guides, the mayor will revoke their license to operate, Villarin warned.

Cebu Provincial Tourism Office head Boboi Costas was surprised at the numbers of guides that tested positive for drugs.

Costas said he plans to recommend to the provincial board to create an ordinance requiring all tour operators to strictly comply with the Safety Management Plan (SMP) that the operators were asked to submit.

He said he had suggested to Badian municipal officials to let tour operators submit their SMP before they are given a business permit.

The Badian police will wait for the 18 guides to voluntarily visit the police station for some information gathering.

Last February 26, a tour guide, Willard Ledesma Capacio, 36, was found with four packs of shabu during a drug bust in Barangay Matutinao.

Capacio’s apprehension was one of the reason the police and CPADAO carried out the surprise drugs test.

Aside from the tour guides, 30 personnel of the Badian police force also underwent a surprise drug test, and none of them were found positive.

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