Oct. 11 2016, 12:00 a.m. – MANDATORY drug tests will soon be part of the admission process in higher educational institutions, a Commission on Higher Education (Ched) official told the Varsitarian.

Ched Executive Director Julito Vitriolo said this move was a response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against the use of illegal drugs, and to ensure that campuses remain drug-free.

“Sa kampanya ng pamahalaan laban sa droga, hindi lamang law enforcement ang titignan kundi lahat ng sector. Kasi unang-una gusto nating protektahan ang mga estudyante lalo [na] sa kolehiyo dahil ‘yan ang vulnerable sector,” Vitriolo said in an interview last Oct. 7.

“[Ang mga estudyante] ang may kakayahang bumili (ng droga) dahil mayroon silang pera, medyo matanda na rin at ‘yung iba madaling matukso,” he added.

A technical working group was formed to craft guidelines. Members include representatives of the Department of Health, the Dangerous Drugs Board and state and private colleges and universities, Vitriolo said.

‘Balanced’ guidelines

Studies will be conducted and the experience of other countries will be reviewed, said Vitriolo. The guidelines also have to be “balanced” to ensure that these won’t hinder students’ access to education.

Ched has also sought the opinion of the Department of Justice to check if mandatory drug testing would be legal.

The technical working group is set to meet next week. Youth leaders and school officials will be invited to a public consultation.

University random drug tests

UST started the implementation of random drug tests in the second semester of Academic Year 2006-2007 in compliance with Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and CHED Memorandum Order 19 series of 2003.

“Students of secondary and tertiary schools shall, pursuant to the related rules and regulations as contained in the school’s student handbook and with notice to the parents, undergo a random drug testing,” RA 9165 states.

The Ched memorandum called on schools to take into account the “ideals of fairness and rehabilitation and not isolation of the drug dependent.”

Schools must not violate constitutional rights to due process, equal protection and self-incrimination, the Ched order stated.


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