AFTER the mandatory drug testing of freshmen last semester, UST will conduct random drug-testing of students from the higher years this second semester.

“Only a small population of the University will be tested randomly for drugs because the government has limited budget to shoulder the drug testing,” Jo Obispo, office assistant for discipline of the Office for Student Affairs, told the Varsitarian. “For example, only 30 or 50 students from the higher levels (sophomores to seniors) will be tested.”

Commission on Higher Education Office for Student Services director Dr. Freddie Bernal said that the government, which must shoulder the expenses pursuant to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, is financially constrained.

“The number of students to be tested will have to depend on the budget allocation on the number of schools,” he said.

A total of 9,420 freshmen passed the mandatory drug testing conducted last semester by the UST Health Service (USTHS) and the UST Clinical Pathology Department. The University had asked freshmen to pay P280 each.

Obispo said that Vice Rector Juan Ponce, O.P. will head the drug-testing committee.

USTHS Director Dr. William Olalia said that even students who are against the measure would have to submit to testing in line with the University’s goal to have a drug-free environment.

In case certain students test positive for illegal drugs, Olalia assured that their identities and the results of their tests would remain confidential.

Central Student Council president Reinald Dela Cruz said the Council is opposed to all drug tests, random or mandatory. But he said the Council has yet to determine its action on the matter, much less to table the agenda for its discussion. “Our stand has not changed,” he said. “The University is yet to enlighten the students about the laws regarding drug testing.”
K. J. R. Liu and R. S. Mejia

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