Lobregat favors random drug test for students, teachers Print
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 16:35

By Dexter Yap

Zamboanga City  - Congressman Celso Lobregat expressed support to the pending implementation of the random drug testing for senior high and college students in public schools by the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Health (DOH).

In an interview with a local radio station here, Congressman Lobregat said that it should be random for students but mandatory for the teachers, DepEd and CHED officials and employees in order to ensure the internal cleansing of the education sector against the drug problem in society.

He said that before the department will look into the students, they must comply it first from within to erase the doubts from the public and to build trust and confidence of their students being assured that their teachers are really complying the department orders.

The solon said that DepEd should make sure that there will be no rights of any child to be violated in the conduct of such procedure which needs the consent of the parents if their child will be subjected to such process while in school.

Lobregat said that the mandatory testing of children for drug use may raise human rights concerns, which should already be anticipated by DepEd and CHED before implementing such process. Because taking a child’s bodily fluids, whether blood or urine, without their parent’s consent, may violate the right to bodily integrity and constitute arbitrary interference with their privacy and dignity. Depending on the manner in which such testing occurs, it could also constitute degrading treatment, and may deter children from attending school or college for reasons unrelated to any potential drug use, depriving them of their right to an education. In many situations, excluding a student from studies due to a positive drug test may also be a disproportionate limitation on a child’s right to education.

“This process should be properly reviewed and utmost consideration should be done, making sure that this will not cause psychological effect to those children who will be discovered positive in the use of prohibited drugs, the intervention and confidentiality of its results should be carefully examined,” Lobregat said.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has allotted P39 million to fund a drug testing program for public school students and teachers that will be implemented by the Department of Health (DoH).

In the tertiary level, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) recently approved Memorandum Order 64, Series of 2017, which allows higher education institutions to conduct mandatory drug testing of students as well as student applicants starting this school year.

DepEd earlier announced that they have the funds for it but since they don’t have the capacity to do it, they have to tap DOH for the medical procedures. Such funds would be enough, DepEd said because they will only pay the medicines and laboratory services.

DepEd also announced recently that they are already finalizing it. The DOH will do it, so it will start anytime. For senior high school, it will be on a sampling scheme. (Dexter Yap/PR)