PDEA seeks mandatory drug test for HS, college students

MANILA The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Wednesday will push for mandatory drug testing for high school and college students.

This comes after the Department of Education (DepEd) rejected PDEA's proposal for the conduct of mandatory drug testing for teachers and students from Grade 4 and up.

Sadly, we didn't get the support of DepEd on our proposal for the mandatory drug test for Grade 4 and above. And all the sectors as just continue or try on with our mandates as the lead agency in anti-illegal drugs. But I would like to add, humirit pa kasi ako (adding) before the meeting ends, sinabi ko na baka pwede naman nilang pagbigyan na lang na magkaroon ng mandatory drug test ang secondary and tertiary (level), kahit yun na lang muna (I asked them to have mandatory drug test in secondary and tertiary level), Aquino told reporters after the MOA signing between the agency, Maritime Industry Authority and Philippine Coast Guard held at PDEA Headquarters in Quezon City.

Aquino said the move seeks to determine the extent of drug users among students, teachers, and even school personnel, or those having drug problem and deter drug use both for the purpose of reformation and rehabilitation.

Citing figures from January to June this year, Aquino said 721 minors were rescued for violating the anti-drug law ranges 3-17 years old.

This number is expect to increase before the year ends, he noted.

We just hope sana mapagbigyan kami ng DepEd (that the DepEd will agree to our proposal). They just told us that they will conduct a study out of that, so I'll try kung hindi sila nagbigay ng (if they did not give) positive or negative na answers. So, they are more inclined or more open to have a mandatory drug testing in high school and colleges. Well, I just dropped the primary (because) everybody has some violent reactions but again, yung batas, inuulit ko yon, na yung batas noong 2002 ay ibang-iba na ngayon sa 2018 (the law, I repeat, the 2002 law is different because it is already 2018) and RA 9165 was prompted in 2002 he explained.

Aquino said he will also discuss the matter with the Commision on Higher Education (CHED).

"Yun nga ang napag-usapan namin (That's what we have discussed). For high school, (it is) DepEd. And we will bring this up sa (to) CHED and will be asking the same to support us (so) that there will be a mandatory drug test for college students," said Aquino.

The PDEA chief said that teachers must also be subjected to drug testing because they serve as role models and mentors for their students.

PDEA is eyeing the amendment of Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 6 Series of 2003, which sets forth the guidelines for the random drug testing of students in public and private secondary, tertiary/higher education institutions and post-secondary technical vocational schools.

Under Section 36 (c) of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, only students of secondary and tertiary schools, and with notice to the parents, are required to undergo a random drug test.

Earlier, Aquino said the common modus operandi of drug syndicates nowadays is to employ young recruits and give them the means to enroll in schools and universities, not to study but to entice and peddle illegal drugs to students.

Drug syndicates have learned to take advantage of Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which exempts minors or children 15 years old and below from criminal liability. Instead, they will just be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to undergo counseling and intervention. (With reports from Rachel Banares/OJT/PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency