MANILA — Students in universities, colleges and higher education institutions (HEIs) will be required to undergo mandatory random drug testing come academic year 2019-2020.
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman J. Prospero de Vera III said in a television interview Tuesday night that this action is based on the commissions’ memorandum 18, in accordance with RA 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“Ang ginagawa natin sa loob ng mga pamantasan ay gumawa ng environment na healthy lifestyle. Huwag nating antayin na dumating sa punto na talamak na ang problema bago tayo mag-intervene (What we’re doing inside the institutions is the creation of environment for healthy lifestyle. Let us not wait for the problem to be chronic before we intervene),” he said.
Meanwhile, Basiliio Claudio, head for legal issues and concerns of the University of the Philippines (UP) Student Council, said the confidentiality of the drug testing results might be compromised.
“It’s possible that the school administration, if you have previous disciplinary cases, how can we ensure that even the treatment of students who might yield positive results would not be discriminated upon,” he said.
Claudio added that the police might not observe the basic rules and procedures during drug raids if the school administration coordinates and requests them to do so.
In response, de Vera assured that the results of the random drug testing will not be made public.
“Hindi pwedeng isapubliko ang resulta ng drug testing at ginagawa natin ito para ma-identify ang mga estudyanteng may problema para sila ay mabigyan ng karampatang health intervention so hindi ito gagamitin para tanggalin ang estudyante (The drug testing results can’t be made public and we’re doing this to identify the students who have problems so they could be given appropriate health intervention so this is not to remove the student [from the institution]),” de Vera said.
He added that the safety and security of the students are prioritized in the creation of the mandatory random drug testing guidelines.
According to the memorandum, students and parents must be notified about the conduct of mandatory drug testing of students by all HEIs through the student handbook. The HEIs shall present at the consultation the policy requiring mandatory random testing of students.
Also, only drug facilities, physicians or private medical practitioners accredited by the Department of Health shall conduct the necessary drug testing. Ma. Teresa Montemayor/PNA-northboundasia.com